Marcus Anthony Shelby

Marcus Anthony Shelby is a bandleader, composer, arranger, bassist, educator, and
activist who currently lives in San Francisco, California. Over the past 25 years he has
built a diverse biography as a composer. His work and music has focused on sharing
the history, present, and future of African American lives, on social movements in the
United States of America, and on early childhood music education. In 1990, Marcus
Shelby received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts and study
composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. From 1990-1996, Shelby
was bandleader of Columbia Records and GRP Impulse! Recording Artists Black/Note.
Currently, Shelby is an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and
the Artistic Director of the Marcus Shelby Orchestra. In 2013, Shelby received a
commission from the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival to compose “Beyond the Blues: A
Prison Oratorio”
an original composition for big band orchestra about the “Prison
Industrial Complex,” which will premier September 2015. Shelby was awarded a 2009
Black Metropolis Research Consortium Fellowship in Chicago for Summer 2009 to
conduct research for his commission to compose “Soul of the Movement”—a musical
suite on MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. Shelby was also a 2006 Fellow in the
Resident Dialogues Program of the Committee for Black Performing Arts at Stanford
University to conduct research for his commission to compose “Harriet Tubman” —a
musical suite based on the life of freedom fighter, Harriet Tubman. Shelby has also
worked extensively in Bay Area Theater, Film, and Dance on a range of productions,
such as composing scores for Anna Deveare Smith’s new play “School to Prison Pipeline”
(2014), choreographer Joanna Haigood’s dance theater work “Dying While Black and
(2014), Margo Hall’s plays “Bebop Baby” (2013) and “Sonny’s Blues” (2008), the
Oakland Ballet’s “Ella” (2004), Robert Moses Kin’ Dance Company (2000), The Pacific
Boy Choir (2009), The San Francisco Girls Choir (2013), The Oakland Youth Chorus
(2014), and many other productions over the past 19 years in the San Francisco Bay
Area. Since 2002, Shelby has worked with the Equal Justice Society and is currently
commissioned to create a musical theater work with choreographer Joanna Haigood
and director Stephen Anthony Jones about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Shelby also
has arranged for, toured, and conducted the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Ledisi,
performed and recorded with Tom Waits, and received the City Flight Magazine 2005
award as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area”.
Shelby is active in music education and currently teaches at The Community Music
Center, Old Adobe Elementary School, St. Paul’s Middle School, and the Stanford Jazz
Workshop. Shelby has also led many of the San Francisco Jazz Festival Family Matinee
Concerts, often with children’s book author Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket). In March
2013, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee appointed Shelby to the San Francisco Arts
Commission where he serves on the Community Arts Grants and Education Committee
and the Street Artists Committee.

Bio Download (PDF)

2013-Present-Community Music Center
2007-Present-Rooftop Elementary; K-8; SF, CA;
2003-2007-Young Musicians Program; Berkeley, CA;
1999-2004-San Francisco State, CA
2001-Present-Stanford University; Stanford Jazz Workshop
2003-Present-Jazz Camp West Faculty
Workshop and Lecture-“Harriet Tubman and Jazz”; “Women and Jazz
Workshop and Lecture-“MLK and Jazz”
Workshop and Lecture-“The Legacy of Duke Ellington”; The Legacy of Louis Armstrong”
Various Libraries, Churches, Art Houses, and Social Clubs

/Awards and Honors/
1991 - Charles Mingus Scholarship to the California Institute for the Arts; 1991 - John Coltrane Young Artists Competition (with Black/Note); 1997 - Image Award Nomination for theatrical stage score for /Emitt Till/ by Bryan Burrell; 1998 - ASCAP Popular Award for Songwriters and Composers; 1999 - California Music Award Nomination for /Best Jazz Artist 1998/; 1999 - Bay Guardian Award for /Best Jazz Band/; 1999 - S.F. Weekly Wammie Award for /Best Jazz Musician/; 2000 - Dean Goodman Choice Awards for Excellence in Bay Area Theatre for Theatrical Score for /Trail of Her Inner Thigh/; Theater Circle Critics Award for Best Musical Score for “Hellhound on my Trail”/; Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Music, Savage Jazz Dance Company/: 2005 – City Flight Magazine- Top 10 Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area for Arts and Culture /:2008 – Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award for Best Original Music Score, “Sonny’s Blues”

/Grant Awards/
2011 The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundaton Composer Grant
2009 Black Metropolis Research Consortium Research Fellowship, Chicago
2008 Center for Cultural Innovation, Marketing and Distribution Planning & Implementation Grants
2006 Stanford University, Committee on Black Performing Arts “Resident Dialogue” Artist Fellowship
2005 Haas Foundation, Creative Work Fund, “Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land”
2002 Theater Communications Group Resident Artist Grant
2001 Meet The Composer “New Residency” Program
2000 Haas Foundation, Creative Work Fund for New Work, “The Lights”

/Private Commissions/
2011 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Commission for “Green and Blues” jazz orchestra composition about
Green Economics and Environmental Racism
2011 Equal Justice Society Commission for “Dying While Black and Brown” ballet with Joanna Haigood
and the Zaccho Dance Theater Company
2009 Cynthia Ross, “Calvin Jones”
2009 San Mateo County “Martin Luther King Day” Committee Commission “MLK” Part I
2007 deYoung Museum and “Jazz at Intersection” Commission “Peaceable Kingdom”
2002 Equal Justice Society Commission “Port Chicago”

Teaching Artist in Residence, Rooftop School
Instructor, Berkeley Young Musicians Program
Instructor, Stanford Jazz Workshop/ Jazz Camp

2011/ Soul of the Movement (Marcus Shelby Orchestra, Porto Franco Records)
2008/ Harriet Tubman (Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Noir Records)
2006 /Port Chicago/ (Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Noir Records)
2001 /The Lights Suite /(Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Noir Records)
1999 /The Sophisticate/ (The Marcus Shelby Trio, Noir Records)
1998 /Intimate Strangers/ (The Marcus Shelby Trio w/ Marcus Conrad Poston, Noir Records)
1998 /Midtown Sunset/ (Jazz Antiqua Ensemble, Noir Records)
1997 /Un Faux Pas/ (The Marcus Shelby Trio, Noir Records)
1995 /Nothin’ but the Swing/ (Black/Note, Uni/Impulse)
1994 /LA Underground/ (Black/Note, Red)
1993 /Jungle Music/ (Black/Note, Sony Music)
1991 /43rd and Degnan/ (Black/Note, World Stage)

/Theatrical Scoring/
2008/ Sonny’s Blues/ Word for Word, San Francisco, CA
2005/ Fear of a Brown Planet, Youth Speaks Literary Organization, San Francisco, CA
2003/ Wheel of Fortune/ by John Steppling, Campo Santo Theater Company, San Francisco, CA
2002 /The Lights/, by Howard Korder, Intersection for the Arts/ODC, San Francisco, CA
2000 /Hellhound On My Trail,/ by Denis Johnson, Campo Santo Theater Company, San Francisco, CA
1999 /Simpatico/, by Sam Shepard, Campo Santo Theater Company, San Francisco, CA
1998 /Trail of Her Inner Thigh/, by Erin Cressida Wilson, Campo Santo Theater, San Francisco, CA
1998 /Suicide in B Flat/, by Sam Shepard, 3^rd Set, Slim’s, San Francisco, CA
1998 /King Lear/, by William Shakespeare, 450 Geary Studio Theater, San Francisco, CA
1997 /Suicide in B Flat/, by Sam Shepard, 3^rd Set, Justice League, San Francisco, CA

/Film Scoring/
2003 “Maladaptive,” Adam Chin Director
2002 “Ralph Ellison: An American Hero,” Avon Kirkland Production, PBS
2001 “King of the Bingo Game,” Elise Robertson, adaptation of Ralph Ellison short story, PBS
2000 “Poetic License,” Directed by Dave Yanofsky, Production, PBS
1998 “Park Day,” Directed by Sterling Macer, Jr., Blockbuster Pictures

/Ballet and Dance/
2011 Equal Justice Commission for “Dying While Black and Brown; Zaccho Dance Theater Company
2005 Oakland Ballet, Commission for “Ella,” Donald McKayle
2001 Oakland Ballet, Commission for “Un Faux Pas,” Reginald Savage
2000 Robert Moses’ Kin -“Collaboration 2000” Robert Henry Johnson, Sara Shelton Mann
1998-2004 Musical Director, Savage Jazz Dance Company
1993-2006 Musical Director, Jazz Antiqua Music and Dance Ensemble

/Performances/**partial list
San Francisco Jazz Festival/ Monterey Jazz Festival/ Montreal Jazz Festival/ Kuumbwa Jazz Center/Yoshi’s Jazz Club/Half Note-Athens, Greece/Dizzie’s,NYC/North Sea Jazz Festival/Vienne Jazz Festival/Yerba Buena Arts Center/San Francisco Museum of Modern Art/Paramount Theater/Stanford Jazz Festival; Blue Note (NYC and Tokyo);