SFJAZZ has announced the appointment of Seven-Time Grammy Winner and Two-Time Academy Award Nominee Terence Blanchard as Executive Artistic Director.
This new position will lead the organization’s artistic programming and guide its overall creative direction. Blanchard’s appointment comes as SFJAZZ Founder Randall Kline prepares to step down this year from the organization he founded in 1983.
Blanchard is a renowned composer, bandleader, and trumpet player who has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements for over 40 years. From his stint with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers to writing scores for Spike Lee and other films, he is unique in the jazz world as an artist whose creative endeavors go far beyond the genre into film scoring, crafting television series soundscapes, and conceiving grand operas that have been recognized at the highest levels of art appreciation. A recipient of a 2018 USA Artist Fellowship and a 2023 Peabody Medal, Blanchard is also a passionate educational mentor, having held positions at the Berklee College of Music, The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and as Chair of Jazz Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, amongst many others. Additionally, Blanchard has been at the forefront of giving voice in his works to socio-cultural issues and racial injustices of our time.
Blanchard has had a long relationship with SFJAZZ and has performed numerous times at the SFJAZZ Center and for the organization. From 2014-2016, he was a SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director and, in 2016, presented his opera Champion: An Opera in Jazz. Most recently, in August 2022, his E-Collective with Turtle Island Quartet performed at the SFJAZZ Center.
As Executive Artistic Director, Blanchard will be the artistic leader of the organization and will help formulate and implement artistic programming across diverse disciplines and genres. He will work closely with the teams at SFJAZZ to curate year-round concert programming, expand the SFJAZZ ‘At Home’ digital platform, and further develop community engagement and educational offerings. Blanchard’s appointment comes after a national search, conducted by Arts Consulting Group.
Said Blanchard, “I am honored and excited to become a part of such an amazing and historic institution. SFJAZZ has meant so much to the development of America’s Greatest artform. I am looking forward to collaborating with the staff while also bringing my own ideas about how to move our music forward and continue the SFJAZZ mission to explore the full spectrum of jazz—from its origins to its diverse and evolving expressions around the world today. I cannot wait to continue this journey.”