Louis Armstrong’s Inspiration and Ambition Transformed Musical Genres, Opinions

Born in the native city of jazz music, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong spent his younger years within “The Battlefield” neighborhood of New Orleans. After dropping out of school at 11-years-old to help support his family, he had a run-in with the law and was sent to juvenile detention, where he learned to play the cornet and found his inspiration to become a professional musician. On this path, Armstrong gained notoriety as one of the most in-demand cornetists (a brass instrument akin to a trumpet) aboard Mississippi riverboats, and later went on to perform in big bands in Chicago and New York City, where he achieved considerable popularity on radio and in films. 

Armstrong was a Civil Rights pioneer who spoke out against segregation, and a musical ambassador for the State Department during the Cold War, to improve America’s image overseas. At 62, his song, “Hello, Dolly” crowned him the oldest musician in America to have a No. 1 song. As a solo artist, his records are some of the most influential in jazz, transforming the genre into one headlined by soloists with expressive vocals and swing vibes. 

Music is for all to compose and share – no matter our backgrounds or demographics. At Inside we are committed to building a more equitable path in the world of the orchestra, to include and create space celebrating and honoring arts and artists from diverse cultures. For more educational content celebrating notable composers, musicians and educators for your personal knowledge, school, or classroom, or to learn about Inside the Orchestra’s in-person programming for metro Denver schools visit www.insidetheorchestra.org

About Inside the Orchestra

Inside the Orchestra brings music to children, cultivating music appreciation and enhancing their education through engaging, interactive experiences with orchestral music. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Learn more about our values and our work in the community.

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