Born in 1985, Champian grew up in Norman Oklahoma. Influenced at an early age by her father, Stephen, a jazz trumpet player, Champian fell in love with jazz. Surrounded by her father's musician friends, which included Clark Terry and Major Holley, Champian learned the language of the music firsthand. She began to study piano with her grandmother at age 5. As singing became more and more important, Champian began to play jazz piano to accompany herself at home.
In New York City since 2003, Champian has been able to become a part of the Jazz scene. Besides leading her own gigs Champian has been able to play with some world-class musicians such as Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess, and Lou Donaldson. You can catch her at a number of different venues in Manhattan including Birdland where she sings every Tuesday night with David Berger & the Sultans of Swing.
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 Jazz at Lincoln Center 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. Mr. Berger maintains a close working relationship with Wynton Marsalis and continues to transcribe and arrange for, and on occasion, conduct the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
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.
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.
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.