Wayne Marshall (classical musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wayne Marshall
Portrait of Wayne Marshall in 2016
Wayne Marshall in 2014
Background information
Born (1961-01-13) 13 January 1961 (age 59)
Oldham, Lancashire
Occupation(s)Pianist, organist, conductor
InstrumentsPiano, organ

Wayne Marshall (born 13 January 1961) is an English pianist, organist, and conductor.[1] He is Chief Conductor of WDR Funkhausorchester in Cologne, Germany,[2] and Organist and Associate Artist of the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.[3] He became Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in 2007,[4] and is a celebrated interpreter of George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and other 20th-century American composers.

Marshall was the first conductor to direct the highly acclaimed debut concert of the Chineke! Orchestra – Europe's first professional black and ethnic minority orchestra – at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.


He is an interpreter of the works of George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington and other 20th-century American composers. He has recorded Gershwin's complete works for piano and orchestra with the Aalborg Symfoniorkester, acting as conductor and piano soloist.

Marshall has appeared as a pianist with Kim Criswell, Tasmin Little, Natalie Clein, Ole Edvard Antonsen, and Willard White. He has also performed most notably with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Philharmonia Orchestra.

As organist, Marshall has appeared in many of the world's top venues. Recent seasons have included recitals at Notre Dame, Paris; the Royal Festival Hall; Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Westminster Abbey. He is also organist in residence at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall. He has also recorded Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony and several organ CDs to critical acclaim.

Early years[edit]

Wayne's musical forays led him to experiment in multiple genres, including jazz, Broadway, and Church music, but quickly found his professional voice as an organ and piano recitalist. His first recorded work goes as far back as 1990, and later, in 1994, with the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony and Mariss Jansons on EMI.

In 1998 he conducted Porgy and Bess to celebrate the Gershwin centenary.

Later years[edit]

In October 2004 he premiered James MacMillan's organ concerto A Scotch Bestiary with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Marshall is a regular performer at the BBC Proms and appeared in the 2012 season as organist, and was co-presenter of the Barenboim Prom in summer 2014. Past appearances include three organ recitals; the UK première of A Scotch Bestiary; Last Night of the Proms in 1997 and the First Night in 2008.

He collaborates regularly with Kim Criswell, the eminent American singing actress, in both recital and orchestral projects, appearing most recently at Cadogan Hall in the Spring of 2015. He has also worked with young musicians, as well as a number of youth and conservatoire orchestras, which include the Cherubini Orchestra founded by Riccardo Muti.

On 6 December 2015 Marshall conducted the European premiere of John Harbison's opera The Great Gatsby at Semperoper, Dresden.

In March 2013 he conducted Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Montreal Opera House and returned in 2014 to conduct Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

The 2016 season included his debut at the Dresden Semperoper (Great Gatsby – John Harbison) Other guest engagements include those with Royal Scottish National, Taipei Symphony and Malaysian Philharmonic. Plans with the WDR include a tour in Spain, recording and performances of Wonderful Town. He recently appeared as soloist in the 2016 season at the Ten Pieces Prom.

Future plans include various recording and touring projects with the WDR and returns to Leipzig Gewandhaus, Czech Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony.

Conducting engagements[edit]

Wayne Marshall conducting Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, 2006
Wayne Marshall conducting the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra at Špilberk Festival, Brno, in 2006.

Highlights from his conducting engagements include Brabants Orkest, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Moscow Chamber Choir and Maggio Musicale, Orchestre National de Lille, Dresden and Luxembourg Philharmonic orchestras, and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester.

He has also worked with Vienna Symphony, RAI Turin, Hallé Orchestra, Santa Cecilia, BBC, London Symphony Orchestra, Strasbourg, Dresden, Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras as well as his regular commitments with Orchestra Verdi. Wayne Marshall was invited to conduct the concert version of Porgy and Bess with Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

In recent seasons, Wayne Marshall has conducted opera at the Washington National Opera, the Dallas Opera, the Opera Comique in Paris with the New World Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Semperoper, and Staatsoper Berlin.

Piano recitals[edit]

Marshall regularly features as piano soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Recent recitals include Florence Cathedral, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Notre-Dame de Paris, Royal Albert Hall and the National Grand Theatre, Beijing.

Future piano engagements include a special project with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle, Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic.

Organ recitals[edit]

As organ recitalist, Wayne Marshall has an exceptionally varied repertoire and performs worldwide. As pianist/director and organist he has performed with many orchestras, including Los Angeles Philharmonic (world première of MacMillan's organ concerto A Scotch Bestiary), Swedish and Munich Radio Symphony orchestras, and Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado.

In 2004, he gave the inaugural organ recital in the new Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Recent recitals include Notre-Dame de Paris, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Royal Albert Hall, and the National Grand Theatre, Beijing.

Recent organ recitals include Bridgewater Hall, Wiener Konzerthaus, Dortmund Konzerthaus, Basilika St. Kastor, Koblenz[5] and in the inaugural organ concert at the Philharmonie in Paris. Forthcoming recitals include Moscow House of Music and Lotte Hall, South Korea.

Forthcoming events[edit]

In March 2018 Wayne Marshall returns to conduct the Orchestre de Paris in a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Mass.


In 2004, Wayne Marshall received an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in 2010.

He has recorded extensively for numerous major labels (including Decca Records)[6] and received an Echo Music Prize (formerly Deutscher Schallplattenpreis) for his Gershwin Songbook CD.

In October 2016 he was one of the recipients of the Golden Jubilee Award, for his services to music.

Personal life[edit]

Wayne Marshall was born in Oldham, Lancashire, to parents originally from Barbados.[7] He was educated at Chetham's School of Music, Manchester, the Royal College of Music, and the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna.


Wayne Marshall has recorded 23 studio albums over a musical career spanning more than two decades.[8]

  • Show Boat (1988)
  • The Virtuoso Organist (1990)
  • Gershwin: Second Rhapsody; Piano Concerto in F; Porgy & Bess Symphonic Suite (1995)
  • Gershwin: Rhapsody in blue; I got rhythm; An American in Paris (1995)
  • Gershwin: Songbook & Improvisations (1997)
  • I Got Rhythm: Wayne Marshall Plays Gershwin (1997)
  • The Most Unforgettable Organ Classics Ever (1998)
  • Symphonie (1998)
  • Wayne Marshall Plays Bach, Liszt, Brahms (1998)
  • Grainger: Works for Piano (1999)
  • Swing It! (1999)
  • Organ Improvisations (1999)
  • Two of a Kind (2000)
  • Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; An American in Paris; Piano Concerto; Porgy & Bess (2002)
  • Organ Works; Organ Transcriptions (2003)
  • Popular Pieces for Trumpet and Organ (2005)
  • Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; Porgy and Bess Suite (2005)
  • Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Piano Concerto; An American in Paris; Porgy and Bess Suite (2005)
  • Wedding Favourites (2005)
  • James Macmillan: A Scotch Bestiary; Piano Concerto No. 2 (2006)
  • Blues (2006)
  • George Gershwin: Concerto in F; Variations on 'I Got Rhythm'; Song Improvisations (2010)
  • Rhapsody in Swing (2012)
  • John Rutter: The Piano Collection (2020) - the first solo piano album of the English composer John Rutter


  1. ^ "Wayne Marshall biography". AllMusic. 31 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Wayne Marshall porträt". wdr.de [in German]. 21 October 2016.
  3. ^ "The Bridgewater Hall Organ". bridgewater-hall.co.uk. 31 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Wayne Marshall". laverdi.org. 31 October 2016.
  5. ^ Wayne Marshall plays the new Hugo Mayer organ of the Basilica of St. Kastor Koblenz. 2016, Fugue State Records CD FSRCD011.
  6. ^ https://www.udiscovermusic.com/classical-news/john-rutter-the-piano-collection/
  7. ^ Zick, William J. (31 March 2010). "Wayne Marshall, Black British Organist, Has 21 CDS & Is Conductor of Verdi Orchestra in Milan" – via Africlassical Blog.
  8. ^ "Wayne Marshall discography". AllMusic. 31 October 2016.

External links[edit]