Such Sweet Thunder

Such Sweet Thunder

5.0 (3)
2 employees
40 years in business

About this pro

In addition to my professional career, I taught jazz composition and arranging for 30 years at Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music and Wm. Paterson Univ. Here is a short bio. If you would like a more complete c.v., please contact me, and I will provide:

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 over 750 full scores of classic recordings, including more than 500 works by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in addition to hundreds of other classic jazz recordings. 

In 1996 Berger collaborated with choreographer Donald Byrd to create and tour Harlem Nutcracker, a full-length two-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 David Berger Jazz Orchestra. The DBJO actively performs Berger's music on tours throughout the United States and Europe.

Berger has written music for numerous jazz groups of all sizes, symphony orchestras, singers, dancers, television, Broadway shows and films and has served as conductor and musical director for dance companies, TV and stage shows.

I am committed to passing on to the next generation jazz and compositional concepts that were given to me by my elders. My approach is to help composers and arrangers to find their voices and become the best writers and musicians they can be regardless of style or instrumentation.

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New York, NY 10025
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3 Reviews


  • Chris Byars

    I am deeply indebted to David Berger for his generous sharing of knowledge that informed and inspired me in my early days of arranging and composing. In a classroom setting, or private lesson, there is no finer jazz writing instructor than David in today’s jazz education world. His legendary efforts of historical transcription and study, indefatigable enthusiasm for the art form, and eloquence of conceptual expression only serve to increase the likelihood of a student reaching their maximum potential as an artist.

  • Willie Applewhite

    Mr. Berger’s teaching consists of a unique combination of orchestrational techniques combined with an emphasis on aesthetic, playability, nuance, and style. These lessons have proved to be invaluable. I would highly recommend David Berger as a jazz composition/arranging instructor. Any student fortunate enough to study with him would benefit greatly.

  • Christian Dancy

    David is a master of the fine details of jazz composing and arranging like no other, and has the rare ability to be both artist and teacher at the highest level. During my studies with David, which are still ongoing, he’s encouraged me to find my own voice through hard work, deep study of the masters and their work, and conversations about common ideas used in writing and arranging jazz as well as ways to apply them to my music. He has the ability to see a piece I’ve presented him, whether a small sketch or fully composed work, and almost immediately recognize what my thought process was while writing it, as well as how I can develop and improve the piece. One of my favorite parts of studying with David is his individual approach to teaching each student and how much I can tell he cares about my work, as well as the childlike excitement he has when hearing new music. Another favorite part of my studies with David are his encyclopedic knowledge of all things jazz, and music in general and the wonderful, many times first hand, jazz history lessons I am given during each lesson. My time studying with David has no doubt seen me grow more than anytime in the rest of my musical development and I look forward to many more years of study.

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