Born: March 30, 1949 Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
Jazz composer, arranger and conductor David Berger is recognized internationally as a leading authority on the music of Duke Ellington and the Swing Era. Conductor and arranger for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra from its inception in 1988 through 1994, Berger has transcribed more than 700 full scores of classic recordings including nearly 500 works by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
In 1996 Berger collaborated with choreographer Donald Byrd to create the Harlem Nutcracker, a full-length 2-hour dance piece that expands the Tchaikovsky/Ellington/Strayhorn score into an American classic. The 15-piece band assembled to play this show has stayed together and continues to play Mr. Berger’s music throughout the United States and Europe. The Sultans of Swing have just released their third CD.
Berger has written music for television, Broadway shows, including Sophisticated Ladies; films, including The Cotton Club and Brighton Beach Memoirs; dozens of singers, bands, orchestras and dance companies. In addition to Mr. Byrd, Berger maintains close, long-term working relationships with Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones.
David Berger's jazz compositions and arrangements and transcriptions are played by hundreds of bands every day all over the world. A seven-time recipient of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, Berger resides in New York City where he teaches at the Juilliard School.