“Wayne Shorter is not only one of jazz’s greatest composers but its angel of esotericism, an enlightened and arcane elder.”
– The New York Times

Considered to be one of the world’s greatest composers and one of the greatest jazz saxophonists of all time, Wayne Shorter is a recipient of 11 Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, five honorary doctorate degrees, the Kennedy Center Honor, Polar Music Prize, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and many other awards and honors for his contributions to music.

"Without the musical explorations of Wayne Shorter, modern music would not have drilled so deep.”

Polar Music Prize
Award Committee

"Wayne is a real composer. He writes scores, writes the parts for everybody just as he wants them to sound. ... Wayne also brought in a kind of curiosity about working with musical rules."

Miles Davis

“If jazz music traces and describes our voyage on Earth, then Wayne has written a colorful and fertile encyclopedia. His interests lie way outside of the mainstream, and the word ‘safe’ isn’t in his vocabulary.”

Herbie Hancock

Wayne Shorter’s compositions have become jazz standards, and his music has earned worldwide recognition, critical praise and various commendations. He has also received acclaim for his mastery of the soprano saxophone after switching his focus from the tenor in the late 1960s beginning an extended reign in 1970 as Down Beat’s annual poll-winner on that instrument, winning the critics’ poll for 10 consecutive years and the readers’ for 18. The New York Times described Shorter in 2008 as “probably jazz’s greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser”.

“I think that music opens portals and doorways into unknown sectors that it takes courage to leap into. I always think that there's a potential that we all have, and we can emerge, rise up to this potential, when necessary. We have to be fearless, courageous, and draw upon wisdom that we think we don't have.”

Wayne Shorter

“It's up to the person who's being creative to find ways to emerge and shake up the world of wealth.”

Wayne Shorter

“There's a certain road in life most people walk on, because it's familiar, and they can jostle to get in front place. I prefer to take a different road that's less crowded, with many forks, where you get a wider view of life. I call it 'the road less travelled'. That's where I want to be.”

Wayne Shorter

“To me, the definition of faith is to fear nothing.”

Wayne Shorter

“There's a steady forward march of a creative process that some of us stay with and don't give up - that should be an admirable thing - from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker to Miles to Ornette and some people who are not even known today - some kids coming up - people who are out to change the world.”

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter, called a genius, a trailblazer, a visionary,  was born on August 25, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey. He studied at New York University and served in the U.S. Army. He spent brief periods in the Horace Silver quintet and the Maynard Ferguson big band before his first major association, with Art Blakey’s hard-bop Jazz Messengers. Miles Davis convinced Shorter to join his quintet in September 1964, thus completing the lineup of a group whose biggest impact would leapfrog a generation into the ’80s.

Staying with Miles until 1970, Shorter became the band’s most prolific composer at times, contributing tunes like “E.S.P.,” “Pinocchio,” “Nefertiti,” “Sanctuary,” “Footprints,” “Fall,” and the signature description of Miles, “Prince of Darkness.” Herbie Hancock said: “The master writer to me, in that group, was Wayne Shorter. He still is a master. Wayne was one of the few people who brought music to Miles that didn’t get changed.”

Following the release of Odyssey of Iska in 1970, Shorter formed Weather Report. The band produce many high-quality recordings in diverse styles, with funk, bebop, Latin jazz, ethnic music, and futurism being the most prevalent denominators. After leaving Weather Report in 1986, Shorter continued to record and lead groups in jazz fusion styles.

In 2000, he formed the first permanent acoustic group under his name, a quartet with pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade, playing his own compositions. Four albums of live recordings have been released: Footprints Live; Beyond the Sound Barrier; Without a Net; and Emanon, with the latter, in addition to live material, including Shorter’s quartet in a studio session with the 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Wayne Shorter’s works have been performed by the Chicago Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Lyon Symphony, National Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has received commissions from the National, St. Louis, and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the La Jolla Music Society.

Shorter has realized over 200 compositions and dozens of these works have become modern standards.

“Mr. Shorter’s mastery is in knocking down the wall between jazz and classical.”

                                   – The New York Times


Wayne Shorter’s first opera, Iphigenia, is scheduled to premiere on November 12—13, 2021. With music by Wayne Shorter and a libretto by esperanza spalding, Iphigenia is not an adaptation of the Greek myth as much as it is an intervention into myth-making itself, and an intervention into opera as we know it.

Classical and jazz forms collide in a full orchestral score that features Shorter’s groundbreaking method of symphonic improvisation, with his venerated quartet at the center. Deeply poetic—then suddenly radical—Iphigenia uses the Euripedian myth to subvert the misogynistic and militaristic narratives imposed upon female characters in our most canonical stories. International master architect Frank Gehry will create set designs for this production directed by award-winning theater and opera director Lileana Blain-Cruz.