The music of composer Anthony Branker stands firmly on jazz traditions while simultaneously pushing the boundaries in bold and beautiful new directions. Recently, he was named in Down Beat magazine’s 62nd Annual Critics Poll as a “Rising Star Composer.” Dr. Branker has recorded for Origin Records and Sons of Sound Records and has seven releases in his fast growing and musically rich discography. They include The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite (Origin, 2014), Uppity (Origin, 2013), Together (Origin, 2012), Dialogic (Origin, 2011), Dance Music (Origin, 2010), Blessings (Origin, 2009), and Spirit Songs (Sons of Sound, 2006). He leads both Anthony Branker & Ascent and Anthony Branker & Word Play, which have featured David Binney, Ralph Bowen, Conrad Herwig, Jim Ridl, Kenny Davis, Donald Edwards, Renato Thoms, Alison Crockett, Mark Gross, Tia Fuller, Steve Wilson, Antonio Hart, Clifford Adams, Andy Hunter, Eli Asher, Jonny King, Bryan Carrott, John Benitez, Belden Bullock, Adam Cruz, Ralph Peterson Jr., Wilby Fletcher, Kadri Voorand, and Freddie Bryant.
Dr. Branker has received composition prizes, commissions, served as composer-in-residence, and has had his music featured in performance in Italy, Denmark, Finland, France, Estonia, Russia, Australia, China, Germany, Lithuania, Japan, and throughout the United States; as well as at such venues as New York’s JVC Jazz Festival, Iridium Jazz Club, Sweet Basil Jazz Club, The Five Spot, Symphony Space, the Fez under Time Café, Trumpets Jazz Club, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Southern Danish Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. His music has also been performed and/or recorded by the Princeton University Orchestra, Talib Kibwe (T.K. Blue), Steve Nelson, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Victor Lewis, Stanley Jordan, Winard Harper, Joe Ford, Benny Carter, Valery Ponomarev, Cecil Brooks III, Onaje Allen Gumbs, Alex Blake, Sarah Jane Cion, Michael Cochrane, Jann Parker, Curtis Lundy, Steve Kroon, Rick Margitza, and the Spirit of Life Ensemble.
Dr. Branker holds an endowed chair in jazz studies and is director of the Program in Jazz Studies 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, evolution of jazz styles, and the improvising ensemble. 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 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, and Ursinus College. Dr. Branker was visiting composer at the Southern Danish Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Odense/Esbjerg, Denmark; Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany; and the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre.