About the NEA

Irvin Mayfield

New Orleans, LA

Irvin Mayfield is a jazz musician, bandleader, composer, arranger, recording artist, and cultural ambassador. He is the founding artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, a 15-piece ensemble that won the 2010 Grammy Award for its CD Book One on the World Village label. Mayfield’s music draws from all aspects of New Orleans life and culture and is re-imagined into an authentic 21st-century jazz sound. His mission is to fortify jazz through performances, audience-building, education, and cultural rebirth. A prolific composer, Mayfield wrote the "Elysian Fields Jazz Commission," an orchestral piece, as a musical commencement address at the University of New Orleans in May 2010, where he serves as a professor in the College of Liberal Arts and teaches "New Orleans As Discourse." In 2009, Mayfield founded the New Orleans Jazz Institute at the University of New Orleans, where he launched a Saturday Music School for 40 elementary school students. In 2008, Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra garnered great reviews for the 20-city tour of "New Orleans, Then and Now," a multimedia orchestral presentation that traced the evolution of New Orleans jazz. In 2005, Mayfield was commissioned by the Episcopal Dean of the Christ Church Cathedral to create "All the Saints," which served as the first major cultural event in post-Katrina New Orleans. In 2000, Mayfield co-founded the Latin jazz group Los Hombres Calientes, whose debut CD won Billboard’s Latin Music Award for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year. Mayfield serves on the boards of the New Orleans Public Library, the New Orleans Recovery Authority, the New Orleans Arts Council, and the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation, among others. He received his first trumpet in the fourth grade and went on to graduate from the New Orleans Center of Creative Artists, the springboard for artists such as Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and many other contemporary jazz greats. He studied at the University of New Orleans Jazz Studies program under the mentorship of Ellis Marsalis.