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 as the Sultans of Swing and continues to play Mr. Berger’s music nearly every Tuesday night at Birdland in New York City and on tours throughout the United States and Europe. Their six and most recent CD, I HAD THE CRAZIEST DREAM is a dozen octet arrangements of songs by Harry Warren featuring Harry Allen and Joe Temperley along with members of the Sultans.
Berger has written music for television (he conducted his band on the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Award for Comedy given to Billy Crystal this past fall), Broadway shows, including Sophisticated Ladies; films, including The Great Debaters, 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.
Mr. Berger has transcribed and edited the great majority of the Essentially Ellington music, conducted band workshops, and annually serves as a judge at the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival.