SFJAZZ.org | SFJAZZ Appoints Terence Blanchard Executive Artistic Director

On The Corner Masthead


Seven-Time Grammy Winner & Two-Time Academy Award Nominee will lead SFJAZZ’s Artistic Programming and Creative Direction

Terence Blanchard at the SFJAZZ Center

SFJAZZ announces the appointment of 7-Time Grammy Winner and 2-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.

This year, SFJAZZ is celebrating its 40th Anniversary and the 10th Birthday of the award-winning SFJAZZ Center. Blanchard joins SFJAZZ as it prepares for the 2023-2024 season beginning September 7.

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 Institute 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.”

Incoming SFJAZZ Executive Artistic Director Terence Blanchard, and SFJAZZ CEO Greg Stern

Greg Stern, SFJAZZ CEO noted, “Terence Blanchard is an extraordinary artist whose experience and accomplishments make him an ideal creative leader for SFJAZZ, building on the incredible legacy that Randall Kline has worked to create over the past forty years.”

Denise Young, SFJAZZ Board Chair added, "We could not be more thrilled to have Terence leading and inspiring SFJAZZ in the fulfillment of a vision started 40 years ago. Terence's expansive impact upon so many areas and genres was a perfect match for the vision we have at SFJAZZ. He perfectly understands and embodies our desire to further enrich audience experiences, expand artist opportunities, and amplify the voices of this special music to powerfully and positively transform the future."

All photos by Scott Chernis


 Official Press Release 

New York Times:  Terence Blanchard, Pushing Jazz Forward From a New Perch

› Nate Chinen: SFJAZZ taps Terence Blanchard to lead the way

› SF Chronicle: SFJAZZ names its next executive artistic director

KQED: Terence Blanchard, Award-Winning Musician and Composer, to Lead SFJAZZ

 Verite News: Terence Blanchard named executive artistic director at SFJAZZ

› New York TimesTerence Blanchard: I Am Not Who You Want Me to Be

› Terence Blanchard Named 2024 NEA Jazz Master

› Terence Blanchard, incoming SFJAZZ director, named NEA Jazz Master


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