Jazz singer Jon Batiste has become a decorated musician thanks to the success of his album World Music Radio. The project earned the Louisiana native four GRAMMY nominations for Album Of The Year, Best American Roots Performance, Best Jazz Performance, Song Of The Year, and Record Of The Year.
The musician and bandleader has captivated audiences worldwide with his extraordinary talent and boundless creativity, which was polished during his time at The Juilliard School.
Several notable celebrities have honed their craft at Juilliard, one of the world's most prestigious performing arts institutions. Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis graduated from Juilliard's Drama Division in 1993, paving the way for her groundbreaking roles on stage and screen. Andre Holland also graduated from the famed institution, which was home to many of today’s biggest stars.
For Jon, his time at Juilliard prepared him for a career that extends into music, acting, and other creative outlets. Let's break down Jon’s Juilliard experience, which undoubtedly played a key role in helping to shape his successful career.
When did Jon Batiste attend Juilliard? What to know about his education history!
In 2004, Jon moved from Louisiana to New York City to attend Juilliard. Founded in 1905, Juilliard is widely regarded as one of the world's leading schools for performing arts education, boasting a roster of successful faculty and alumni.
For Jon, Juilliard represented not only a prestigious academic opportunity but also a chance to establish his creative identity.
“My early experiences led me to the philosophy of social music,” Jon explained during a TED discussion. “And those early experiences where people thinking I was weird and me being a student at Juilliard and people thinking, ‘Oh, hey, what is he doing?’”
During his time at Juilliard, Jon immersed himself in a curriculum that included classical music, jazz, and contemporary styles. He refined his technique and expanded his musical repertoire, which paved the way for his creative endeavors. While Jon never studied acting, he has since become an established thespian with credits in several major film productions.
What musical instruments does Jon Batiste play?
Jon isn't limited in his abilities. The musician – known for hits like “Be Who You Are” and “Freedom” – can play several different instruments. Piano playing serves as the foundation of the singer’s signature sound, anchoring his performances with depth and emotion. In addition to his skills as a pianist, vocalist, and trumpeter, Jon is also proficient at playing the harmonica.
He often pairs the two instruments together to create a musical tool he calls a "harmonabord.”
Jon tweeted: “I call it a harmonabord — like harmonica and keyboard put together. It has many names.”
Adding yet another layer to his multifaceted talent, Jon is also skilled at playing the melodica and organ. Jon popularized the melodica – an instrument that combines the melody horn, harmonica, and mouth piano.
“It’s still very much an underground instrument,” Jon explained during an interview with Garden & Gun.
Jon's mastery of multiple instruments is a testament to his extraordinary talent and creativity. He navigates a diverse musical landscape by captivating audiences with his voice and skills.