Alto saxophonist Godwin Louis was born in Harlem, New York, and began playing saxophone at age 9. He grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Port au Prince, Haiti. He was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Saxophone competition and has performed around the globe in countries including Mali, Senegal, Togo, France, and Finland, among many others. A graduate of Berklee College of Music and the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance, he has studied and performed with Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Roger Dickerson, Ron Carter, and Al Foster, among other renowned musicians.
In addition, Louis has performed as a sideman and guest soloist, and has conducted clinics and master classes worldwide. As a composer, he has received the Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and the Jazz Gallery's New Works Commission. As an educator, humanitarian, and ambassador, he has traveled from Benin to China to help promote cross-cultural understanding and introduce thousands to America’s art form of jazz through public concerts, master classes, and jam sessions. The founder of Experience Ayiti, a nonprofit educational multidisciplinary arts organization, his debut album as a leader, Global, was released in February 2019.
- Toured with Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Ellis Marsalis, among others
- Performed with Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Bilal, and Prince, among others
- Studied with Terence Blanchard, David Baker, Roger Dickerson, Ron Carter, and Jack DeJohnette, among others
- Musical director for Homeland Jazz Festival in Togo, West Africa
- Awarded third place in the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition
- Recipient of the Jimmy Woode Award for Best Saxophonist, Tuscia in Jazz Festival
- Recipient of the Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Grant
- Recipient of the Jazz Gallery’s New Artist New Works Commission Grant
- M.M., Loyola University, New Orleans, jazz studies performance, 2011
- Artist Diploma, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, music pedagogy, composition, and jazz studies, 2011
- B.M., Berklee College of Music, professional music and education, 2008
"My ultimate goal is to inspire greatness and instill a sense of musical appreciation while providing each student with the necessary tools to learn and unlock their full potential as musicians."
As an educator, professional saxophonist, composer, and ethnomusicologist, my teaching style stems from decades of researching different cultures and pedagogies from all over the world. Through my experience, I’ve learned that the best and most effective way to educate and prepare the future generation of artists is by getting them to understand the arts via analysis, investigation, and studying what came before in order to understand the road ahead."