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Educator, Conductor, Composer, Bandleader, Scholar  

About Anthony Branker

Composer/Arranger/Bandleader Anthony Branker is featured as the most recent #ArtistSpotlight a
t SoulandJazz.com/The Fringe joining an amazing collection of forward-thinking artists that have already shared their thoughts and music on #WordsBehindTheMusic, including Miguel Zenon, Ben Allison, Jane Ira Bloom, Dave Douglas, Ben Wendel, Mark Guiliana, Allison Miller, Etienne Charles, and John Beasley...We hope you enjoy listening to this show!!

Beauty Within recording by composer Anthony Branker & Imagine on Origin Records was the winner of 3 Gold Medal Awards from Global Music Awards in the categories of "Album" (Beauty Within), "Group" (Anthony Branker & Imagine), and "Genre" (Eclectic Jazz Fusion). Featured performers include saxophonist Ralph Bowen, guitarist Pete McCann, pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Linda Oh, drummer Rudy Royston

Beauty Within recording by Anthony Branker & Imagine on Origin Records has been nominated in the "Best Funk/Fusion/Jam Album" Category for the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards!!

Origin Recording Artist Anthony Branker is once again honored in Down Beat magazine as a Rising Star Composer in this year's 63rd Annual Critics Poll

The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite
CD by composer Anthony Branker & Word Play was recently nominated as "Best Album Concept" in the 14th Annual Independent Music Awards!!

Composer Anthony Branker featured in Down Beat Magazine's January 2015 issue in the article "Pointing Toward Hope"

Origin Recording Artist Anthony Branker named in Down Beat magazine's 62nd Annual Critics Poll as a Rising Star Composer!!

Composer Anthony Branker Wins Two Global Music Awards!!
Silver Medal: The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite, Album
Bronze Medal: The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite, Composition

Press Quotes

“Honing a hybrid of freewheeling postbop and social commentary, abetted by judicious dollops of funk, fusion, spoken word, clave and polyrhythmic percussion, Branker incorporates these elements in broad, bold strokes, like a muralist. He has yet to make a bad record.” -- JazzTimes

"The virtuosity and mutual responsiveness of the five-piece supergroup grants a near-overwhelming exuberance to this transgenerational project. Beauty Within presents a dense, blinding musical landscape - not revolutionary, but certainly brilliant." -- JAZZIZ

“Anthony Branker is rising to the top of American jazz composers…a force to be reckoned with in the world of modern post-bop jazz.”  -- Sea of Tranquility

“Beauty Within, itself a strong contender for my choice of 'album of the year', is another marvelous offering from Dr. Anthony Branker, the most eloquent, socially conscious, interesting and challenging composer/arranger on the scene today.” -- BEST of 2016: Albert Brooks’ Top Jazz Albums, Albany Jazz

"Word Play is the band on [Branker's] most recent release, The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite (Origin), a wide-ranging and powerful rumination on America's winding, flawed, still-in-progress journey toward a fuller realization of its founding principles. The project germinated in Europe while Branker was on sabbatical from Princeton University watching the 2012 presidential election unfold from abroad. Rather than delving into polemics, the suite is focused on the composer's optimism for the future of the nation, beginning with a preamble outlining Branker's concept of what America stands for and ending with a piece called "Hope." -- Downbeat

"Composer/arranger/trumpeter/mentor Anthony Branker is one of those gurus who, although he has appeared in the spotlight as a leader or co-collaborator with various big names, has made his most lasting mark as an educator and composer…(he) has proven to be an inspiration to many known and unknown musicians ...Bravo, Mr. Branker, may you continue to create and inspire."
-- One Final Note: Jazz & Improvised Music

"Branker's music relies on a strong rhythmic foundation, with Afro-Cuban inspired grooves and solo sections over energetic vamps...With a unique combination of depth and accessibility, Branker is able to put forth a a jazz perspective steeped in soulful optimism." -- All About Jazz

Featured Articles

Dr. Branker's Master Class column "Modal Approaches to Jazz Composition" featured in Down Beat's October 2013 issue

In a jazz composition master class for Down Beat, the international magazine for Jazz, Blues & Beyond, Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker shares some of the advantages of exploring the rich and unique sound palette associated with the modal harmonic language. Dr. Branker's latest CD release on Origin Records is titled Uppity with his ensemble Anthony Branker & Word Play performing a program of his original compositions

Improvisation Course Takes Students Out
of Their Musical 'Comfort Zone'

In the new course "The Improvising Ensemble," taught by Dr. Anthony Branker, students with performance experience across a range of genres from jazz to classical to world music are exploring improvisational techniques


"Anthony Branker: Jazz Dialogics"

Interview with composer Anthony Branker

Photograph by Denise Applewhite


 JAZZ INSIDE magazine
"What's Really Going On In Jazz Education?"

Interview with Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker





Musician and teacher Anthony Branker

music professor and the force
behind Princeton’s jazz program.

Photograph by Frank Wojciechowski


Other Featured Articles on Dr. Anthony Branker

Anthony Branker "Pointing Toward Hope"(Downbeat, January 2015)

Composers Branker & Sanford Sound Forth (US 1 - Elaine Strauss)

Princeton jazz professor composes 'Ballad for Trayvon Martin' (NJ.com)

Upcoming Events / Recent Projects

Dr. Branker appeared at the Visioon Festival, Saue, Estonia as Guest Conductor of the New Wind Jazz Orchestra performing the Big Band Music of Anthony Branker, including the World Premieres of "The Door of No Return," Philly Joe's Jazz Club, Tallinn, Estonia, June 2018

Dr. Branker serves as composer-in-residence at The Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre working with student jazz small group in performance and composition, Tallinn, Estonia, May 2018

Dr. Anthony Branker serves as peformance adjudicator for the New Jersey Association for Jazz Education Jazz Ensemble Preliminaries at West Orange High School, The Newark Academy, Jackson Liberty High School, Cherokee High School, and Rahway School, March 5-15, 2018

Dr. Branker guest conducts the
ISMA High School Honors Big Band sponsored by the Independent School Music Association of New York City, The Calhoun School in Manhattan & The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY, February 23-25, 2018

Dr. Anthony Branker appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Society for Improvised Music as Vice President for Education and Outreach, 2018

Dr. Anthony Branker appears as panelist for “The We-Space Summit: A Five-Day Online Global Event” examining Collective/Interactive Creativity and Flow; organized by Olen Gunnlaugson, Université        Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; October 9-13, 2017

Dr. Branker serves as adjudicator for large instrumental ensembles (classical & jazz) at the New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival at Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ, May 31 - June 2, 2017

Dr. Anthony Branker conducts the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre Big Band in a program dedicated to the Music of Charles Mingus and leads a Jazz Sextet of the music academy's graduate students in a US Embassy sponsored concert at Narva College and in performance at Philly Joe's Jazz Club in Tallinn of the Music of Anthony Branker
, March 15 & 17, 2017

Dr. Branker presents master class: “Finding the Inspiration to Compose: Creative Strategies for Composing,” as well as master classes on composition in the improvising ensemble with graduate and undergraduate jazz studies students at the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre, Tallinn, Estonia, March 2, 2017

Dr. Anthony Branker to be included as one of the composers featured in the 6th Annual CompCord Festival "New York / New Music"sponsored by Composers Concordance on Friday, March 3, 2017, 7:30 pm at the Cutting Room (44 East 32nd Street, NYC). Dr. Branker's composition "Forgotten Peoples," arranged by Ralph Bowen, will be performed by the CompCord Big Band

Princeton University Concert Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker with pianist/composer Orrin Evans plus The Orrin Evans Quartet featuring saxophonist Caleb Wheeler Curtis, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr., Saturday, May 7, 2016, 8:00 pm, Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Sponsored by the Program in Jazz Studies

Princeton University Jazz Faculty Recital "Composing in the Moment" with guitarist Bruce Arnold, pianist Michael Cochrane, bassist Brian Glassman, drummer Vince Ector, and musical director Dr. Anthony Branker, Saturday, February 20, 2016, 8:00 pm, Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall, Sponsored by the Program in Jazz Studies

Composer & pianist Fabian Almazan & Rhizome featuring vocalist/guitarist Camila Meza, bassist Linda May Han Oh, drummer Henry Cole, with String Quartet perform Free Concert on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 8:00 pm in Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall

Princeton University Program in Jazz Studies
presents composer & pianist Fabian Almazan in a Jazz Colloquium presentation on Friday, April 1, 2016 at 12:00 noon in McAlpin Rehearsal Hall/Woolworth Center of Musical Studies

A Conversation & Performance by Alto saxophonist/Composer & MacArthur “Genius” Award Fellow Miguel Zenón on Tuesday, February 17, 2016, 7:30 pm, Solley Theatre, Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, Arts Council of Princeton (102 Witherspoon Street), Princeton - FREE ADMISSION; Co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Program in Latin American Studies, and the Program in Jazz Studies

Dr. Anthony Branker guest conducts the Connecticut Western Region Jazz Ensemble at their All Region Festival at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, January 15-16, 2016

Princeton University Concert Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker with Grammy Award Nominated trombonist Conrad Herwig plus The Conrad Herwig Quintet featuring trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, pianist Bill O'Connell, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, and drummer Bobby Ameen, Saturday, November 21, 2015, 8:00 pm, Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Sponsored by the Program in Jazz Studies

Dr. Anthony Branker named to the College Music Society's newly created Advisory Council on Improvisation

Princeton University Concert Jazz Ensemble conducted by Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker with pianist/composer and guest soloist Jim Ridl plus The Jim Ridl Quartet featuring trumpeter Philip Harper, bassist John Benitez, and drummer Donald Edwards, Saturday, October 10, 2015, 8:00 pm, Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Sponsored by the Program in Jazz Studies

Dr. Anthony Branker to present paper at the 2015 International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) International Conference, Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, July 9-12, 2015

Dr. Branker to serve as symposium panelist with Ed Sarath (University of Michigan) and Kathleen Camara (Tufts University) at the 2015 International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) International Conference, Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, July 9-12, 2015