General Session Keynotes

Attend the 2021 TMEA General Sessions to be an active part of the future of our association!

Enjoy learning more about the incredible keynote presenters scheduled for each session!

First General Session: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Second General Session: Wynton Marsalis

Register now to be part of this incredible event and be inspired by these legendary musicians and arts advocates!

First General Session: February 11, 6:00 p.m.

Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Oscar, Grammy, Tony, Olivier, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriters/producers Benj Pasek & Justin Paul are best known for their work on Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman. Their songs “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and “City of Stars” garnered both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture. Pasek & Paul won the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, which was also nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Original Song and most recently for the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media. Recent projects include the live-action movie musical Aladdin at Disney, and upcoming projects include the live-action movie musical Snow White at Disney, as well as original animated and live-action projects for both film and television with Touchstone/Showtime, Blue Sky Studios/Disney Animation, Sony Pictures, Apple, and Disney+. With the release of the novelization of Dear Evan Hansen, Pasek & Paul became New York Times best-selling authors. On Broadway, they composed the score for the three-time Olivier Award and six-time Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen, their highly acclaimed original musical for which they received an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award, and both the Oliver Award and Tony Award for Best Score. It can also soon be seen on screen in an upcoming film adaptation with Universal Pictures.

Their albums for Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman appeared in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, the latter of which held the #1 spot for multiple weeks in a row. The Dear Evan Hansen Original Broadway Cast Recording won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and is certified Gold. The Greatest Showman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was named the best-selling album in the world in 2018, won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, the 2019 Billboard Music award for Top Soundtrack, and is certified Platinum in over a dozen countries, including Triple Platinum in the US, Australia, and Indonesia, Quadruple Platinum in Singapore, 5x Platinum in Korea, 6x Platinum in the UK, and 7x Platinum in Ireland.

Pasek & Paul had their Broadway debut in 2012 with their Tony-nominated score for the Broadway musical A Christmas Story, an adaptation of the classic holiday film, further adapted into a live telecast for Fox in 2017. Their new song written for the telecast, “In the Market for a Miracle,” was nominated for the 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. In 2013, they contributed several songs to NBC’s Smash, and received great acclaim for their musical Dogfight which was awarded Off-Broadway’s highest honor, the Lucille Lortel Award for Best New Musical. Their earlier theater credits include the children’s musical James and the Giant Peach and the popular song cycle Edges. Pasek & Paul went on to receive a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Special Class–Short Format Daytime Program for the song “Unlimited,” featured in an Old Navy YouTube campaign. In 2017, the songwriting duo composed a song for the CW’s musical episode of The Flash, and also wrote “Get Back Up Again” for the DreamWorks animated film Trolls. Among their numerous honors, in 2007 they became the youngest winners ever of the famed Jonathan Larson Award for most promising musical theater songwriters, and in 2019, they became the first writers for stage or screen to be honored with the ASCAP Vanguard Award.

Thanks go to iTheatrics and GIA Publications for making their appearance possible.

Second General Session: Friday, February 12, 8:00 p.m.

Wynton Marsalis

Jazz musician, trumpeter, composer, bandleader, advocate for the arts, and educator Wynton Marsalis has helped propel jazz to the forefront of American culture. His prominent position in American culture was solidified in April 1997 when he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his work Blood on the Fields, which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2012, he was named Managing and Artistic Director of the world-renowned arts organization. He had served as artistic director as well as music director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (formerly known as the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra) since its inception.

In 1982, Mr. Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader, and over the last two decades, he has produced a catalogue of more than 40 jazz and classical recordings for Columbia Jazz and Sony Classical, which have won him nine GRAMMY awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMY awards in one year, and repeated this feat in 1984.

Mr. Marsalis regularly conducts master classes, lectures and concerts for students, including the popular Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz for Young PeopleSM concerts that spawned the first-ever comprehensive jazz appreciation curriculum of the same name for 4-9th grades. Educational activities also include the annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival that has reached more than 3,500 bands in North American and Australia, and the Band Director Academy.

Mr. Marsalis’s commitment to improving people’s lives through music and his contributions to the arts paint a portrait of his character and humanity. He is internationally respected as a teacher and a spokesman for music education, having received honorary degrees from more than 30 of the nation’s leading academic institutions, including Columbia, Brown, Princeton, and Yale universities.

Learn more about Wynton Marsalis.