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Posted on September 09, 2019

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The @KimmelCenter 2019/20 jazz season kicks off with the ‘genius of the modern piano’ Marcus Roberts and The Modern Jazz Generation on 10/11. More info @


Press Contact:

Lauren Woodard                                                             


[email protected]


Jessica Christopher


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OCTOBER 11, 2019


In conjunction with 2019 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO &

Jazz Philadelphia Summit


“His combination of talent, ambition, discipline, stylistic openness and resourcefulness suggest that he is a remarkable musician—perhaps even a Phenomenon…” – JAZZ TIMES


“He's a virtuoso, a monster musician.” –WYNTON MARSALIS, FOR 60 MINUTES


Pianist Marcus Roberts is known for many things: a genius skill… an immense love of the blues, technological innovations in regard to composing for the blind, and a soulful sense of tradition and invention."- A.D. AMOROSI, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA, September 9, 2019) – Hailed as ‘the genius of the modern piano,’ the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus kicks off the 2019/20 Jazz Season with Marcus Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation Band on Friday, October 11, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. at the Perelman Theater.


“Marcus Roberts is truly a revelation in the modern jazz era, and we are delighted to have him serve as the inauguration of this year’s stellar jazz season,” said Ed Cambron, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “He serves as an inspiration for countless other musicians, transcending genre and stereotype. The group he has assembled is further evidence of his magnanimous spirit, a dazzling blend of his dedicated trio members and the enthusiastic protégés he has molded. His work truly embodies our Cultural Campus vision to transform lives daily through the arts.”


Marcus, with his long-time trio members, Jason Marsalis (drums) and Rodney Jordan (bass), founded the Modern Jazz Generation (MJG) in 2013, but its roots go back much further. This band is based on the principle of mentoring that was such a critical part of the evolution of jazz. Older jazz musicians have always worked with and mentored younger musicians on the stage. Mentoring and education are both critical parts of Marcus Roberts’ musical mission and this new band has been a part of the realization of that mission.


In 2014, the celebrated CBS News television show, 60 Minutes, profiled Marcus Roberts’ life and work on a segment entitled “The Virtuoso”.  The show traced Roberts’ life to date from his early roots in Jacksonville and at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, to his remarkable career as a modern jazz musician; the segment was hosted by Wynton Marsalis, who previously played in the same band as Roberts.


Roberts has won numerous awards and competitions over the years, but the one that is most personally meaningful to him is the Helen Keller Award for Personal Achievement. While Roberts is known for his remarkable ability to blend the jazz and classical idioms to create something wholly new, he may be even better known for his development of an entirely new approach to jazz trio performance.


In addition to his renown as a performer, Roberts is also an accomplished composer who has received numerous commissioning awards, including ones from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, ASCAP, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Savannah Music Festival, who co-commissioned him to write his first piano concerto— “Spirit of the Blues: Piano Concerto in C-Minor” (2013). In 2016, Roberts premiered his second piano concerto (“Rhapsody in D for Piano and Orchestra”) at the Ozawa Music Festival in Matsumoto, Japan. That piece was commissioned by the Seiji Ozawa and the Saito Kinen Orchestra.


Roberts has long been dedicated to the training and development of younger musicians. He has served as Associate Artistic Director for the Savannah Music Festival for many years, as well as the Director of the annual Swing Central Jazz programs for high school jazz bands from all over the country. Roberts is an associate professor of music at the School of Music at Florida State University. He holds an honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Juilliard School.


Trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader Charles Tolliver will be honored with the 2019 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO in a special ceremony at the Kimmel Center preceding the Marcus Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation show. Toshiko Akiyoshi, the 2018 Living Legacy honoree, will make a special appearance during the Marcus Roberts show in celebration of this year’s event. The Living Legacy Jazz Award is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) and honors living jazz masters from the Mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education. The 2019 event marks the 25th Anniversary of the Living Legacy Jazz Award and the 40th Anniversary of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.


The Jazz Philadelphia Summit is a spirited gathering of jazz advocates and audiences, musicians, and key arts and culture boosters held in Center City, Philadelphia. During the Summit, representatives from local and national jazz organizations will offer workshops, panel discussions, presentations, networking opportunities, and great jazz performances. Day One activities (Friday, October 11) will be held in the Kimmel Center, as well as University of the Arts.


Other featured upcoming performances at the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus include: PHILADANCO: GENESIS (October 5 – 6, 2019, Merriam Theater), Judy Collins: Love Letters to Stephen Sondheim (October 17, 2019, Merriam Theater), Chick Corea Trilogy(October 27, 2019, Verizon Hall), and Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (November 1, 2019, Verizon Hall).



Kimmel Center Cultural Campus’ Perelman Theater

October 11, 8:00 p.m.



Tickets are on sale now starting at $30.00. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office. Group sales are available for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased by calling 215-790-5883. See for more information.


The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, our mission is to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education. Our Cultural Campus serves more than 1 million guests per year and includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music, and the Merriam Theater- representing more than 160 years of rich history for the performing arts along Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. We are home to eight esteemed Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, we are the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. Our Cultural Campus serves as a preeminent and inclusive place to enjoy exceptional experiences that reflect the spirit of our region by cultivating a creative and socially-responsible environment where our community shares experiences that are delivered with pride, integrity, and respect. As a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, we collaborate on, present, and produce a broad range of relevant and meaningful events, we serve as an active gathering space for social and community events, we educate the region’s young people through access to quality arts experiences, and we provide support to artists in the creation of new work. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is our proud sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2019-2020 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit


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