P I A N O   3 0 0
Celebrating Three Centuries of People and Pianos


Piano Grand!
A Smithsonian Celebration

Photo by Robert Smith

Marcus Roberts

Blind since the age of 5, Roberts was first exposed to music in the local church where his mother was a gospel singer. When he was 8, his parents bought a piano and four years later Roberts began nine years of formal training. Since that time he has garnered acclaim through several distinctions, including the $10,000 first prize in the first Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition (1987) and the first jazz musician to have all three of his first recordings reach No. 1 on Billboard's traditional jazz chart. At the age of 21, Roberts joined Wynton Marsalis and appeared on virtually all of the trumpeter's jazz recordings during that period. His most recent recording, The Joy of Joplin (1998), pays tribute to the composer, whose music, said Roberts, "represents the resilience of the American spirit."

Back to Gala


[Introduction] [Performances, Tours and More] [Exhibition] [Timeline]
[Credits] [Donors and Collaborators ] [Play Some Music!] [Piano Resources]

Piano 300
American History
National Museum of American History