Ambrose Akinmusire

Ambrose Akinmusire

A spiritual seeker in the grand tradition of musical aspirationalists, trumpeter/composer Ambrose Akinmusire has staked his place at the vanguard of jazz and artistic expression. The winner of the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, Akinmusire has proved himself one of the most vital and deft trumpeters of his generation.

Akinmusire was named 2012 Trumpet Player of the Year in DownBeat Magazine’s Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association awards, and was awarded Germany’s ECHO Award as Instrumentalist of the Year, International Brass. His two CDs, Prelude to Cora (Fresh Sound New Talent) and When the Heart Emerges Glistening (Blue Note), were both met with critical acclaim. The latter topped critics’ lists at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Allmusic.com, and earned Akinmusire France’s Grand Prix l’Academie du Jazz.

The son of a father from Nigeria and a mother from Mississippi, Akinmusire was raised in Oakland, California, where he began playing piano at the age of three, switching to drums in the fifth grade and finally to the trumpet the following year. He attended Berkeley High School and the Manhattan School of Music, followed by a return to the west coast to earn his master’s degree at USC and to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

The nomadic trumpeter currently teaches at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He has played on stages around the globe, including in India, Vietnam, Australia, Turkey, Japan, and Brazil, and at international festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, and Barcelona Jazz Festival.

Akinmusire’s forward-reaching compositions have earned him a commission from New York’s Jazz Gallery and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation’s MAP Fund and Chamber Music America’s French-American Jazz Exchange Program. In 2011, he debuted his star-studded Big Band on one of the world’s most renowned stages, Carnegie Hall. The following year he was named Artist-in-Residence at the 55th annual Monterey Jazz Festival.