Director, Program in Jazz Studies
Associate Director, Program in Musical Performance.
- Jazz History
Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker holds the endowed chair of the Anthony H.P Lee ‘79 Senior Lecturer in Jazz Studies, is Founder/Director of the Program in Jazz Studies, and serves as Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University, where he directs an extensive list of ensembles and teaches courses in jazz theory through improvisation & composition, jazz performance practice in historical and cultural context, jazz composition, and the evolution of jazz styles. He has served as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia and has also been a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, Hunter College of the City University of New York, Ursinus College, and the New Jersey Summer Arts Institute. He has been honored by the United States Department of Education with a Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award, the Institute for Arts and Humanities Education Distinguished Teaching Award, the International Association of Jazz Educators Award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education, and was the recipient of the 2004 Alumni Award presented by the Association of Black Princeton Alumni. Recently, the New Jersey Association for Jazz Education honored Dr. Branker at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark by presenting him with the 2009 Jazz Education Achievement Award for “Outstanding Accomplishment in the Field of Jazz Studies and Continued Dedication to the New Jersey Jazz Education Community.”
As a conductor, Dr. Branker has had the opportunity to work with such internationally renowned artists as Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Jon Faddis, Conrad Herwig, Oliver Lake, Frank Foster, Benny Carter, Ted Curson, Stanley Jordan, Bobby Watson, Terence Blanchard, Bob Mintzer, Ralph Peterson, Steve Nelson, Antonio Hart, Don Braden, Jacky Terrasson, Jonny King, Walt Weiskopf, Valery Ponomarev, Bryan Carrott, Michael Philip Mossman, Rick Margitza, Ralph Bowen, Mark Gross, Clifford Adams, Jeffery Smith, Guilherme Franco, Benny Powell, Michael Cochrane, and Patience Higgins. In addition, he has collaborated with the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra and conductors Wycliffe Gordon, Loren Schoenberg, and Cecil Bridgewater on joint big band performances of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s “The Far East Suite” and Ellington’s “The New Orleans Suite” at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Dr. Branker has also appeared as guest jazz conductor with the Jugend Sinfonie Orchester (Bremen, Germany), Israel’s Kiryat Ono Symphonic Youth Band, Japan’s Fukui Junior Orchestra, Estonian Academy of Music Big Band (Tallinn, Estonia),Hunter Jazz Repertory Orchestra (New York), Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, New Jersey IAJE Intercollegiate All State Jazz Ensemble, and the 2008 New Jersey All State High School Jazz Ensemble featuring performances at NJPAC in Newark and at the New Jersey Education Association Convention at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. While at Princeton, Professor Branker has led performances that have featured the Princeton University Orchestra, Sinfonia, Chapel Choir, Glee Club/Concert Choir,andGospel Ensemble, and has directed two national award-winning jazz groups, including the Monk/Mingus Ensemble, winner of the Down Beat magazine Student Music Award for “Best Jazz Instrumental Group,” and Ensemble X, recipient of a 2003 Down Beat music award for “Outstanding Performance.”
As a composer, Branker has received composition prizes, commissions, served as composer-in-residence, and has had his music featured in performance at the Pori International Jazz Festival (Finland), Leningrad/St. Petersburg International Jazz Festival (Russia), Kaunas International Jazz Festival (Lithuania), Estonia International Jazz Festival (Estonia), Mt. Fuji International Jazz Festival (Japan), JVC Jazz Festival (New York); concert and club appearances in China, Russia, France, and Germany; as well as in performance at such venues as the Iridium Jazz Club, Sweet Basil Jazz Club, The Five Spot, New York’s Symphony Space, the Fez under the Time Café, Trumpets Jazz Club, Estonian Academy of Music, and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. In addition, his music has appeared on National Public Radio, was spotlighted at the International Jazz Composers Symposium at the University of South Florida, and has been performed by the Shanghai Jazz Orchestra in Shanghai, China. Professor Branker is also an Origin Records recording artist and leads the group Anthony Branker & Ascent, a jazz collective formed in 2004 dedicated to the performance of original new music by its founder, which has featured some of the most significant jazz artists working today, including Tia Fuller, Ralph Bowen, Steve Wilson, Antonio Hart, Bryan Carrott, Clifford Adams, Conrad Herwig, Jonny King, Kenny Davis, Belden Bullock, John Benitez, Adam Cruz, Ralph Peterson Jr., Renato Thoms, Wilby Fletcher, Freddie Bryant, and vocalist Kadri Voorand. In November 2010 the ensemble will celebrate its third recording with the release “Dance Music” on Origin Records.
Professor Branker holds the degrees of Doctor of Education and Master of Education from Columbia University, Teachers College; Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami; and a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Certificate in African-American Studies from Princeton University. His research interests include: creating in collaboration, dialogic interaction in the space of learning, free improvisation, and self-directed learning.