“I started out in music at a very early age. I grew up in a house where there was music constantly playing, especially opera, which my father loved. I started playing piano when I was five years old, but then the trumpet caught my ear, and everything changed. I became interested in Jazz and started listening to Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Herbie Hancock, among others. Those were the voices that really piqued my curiosity.
“I went on to become a professional musician and film composer, but it wasn’t until tragedy struck my hometown of New Orleans that I came back to the opera. Part of how I grieved over Katrina was recording an album, which in a circuitous way sparked my collaborations with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. The most recent collaboration, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, recently became the first work by a black composer to be presented by the Metropolitan Opera. I’m very honored and overwhelmed by that.”
About the Artist
Terence Blanchard, a member of the Academy and of the Commission on the Arts, is a jazz trumpeter, composer and music educator.
Audio excerpt from “Central Focus” by Terence Blanchard. Copyright © 2013 by Terence Blanchard / Blue Note Records. Excerpted by permission of Terence Blanchard.
Commission on the Arts
The Commission - drawing on the expertise of its members who are artists, scholars, activists, and leaders, as well as the input of people across the country who participated in listening sessions - dedicated itself to recognizing and supporting the essential role of the arts and artists in American life.