In the Spirit of Swing. The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center
is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for Jazz through performance, education and advocacy.
We believe Jazz is a metaphor for Democracy. Because jazz is improvisational, it celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression. Because jazz is swinging, it dedicates
that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with
others. Because jazz is rooted in the blues, it inspires us to face adversity with persistent optimism.
Jazz composer, arranger, and conductor David Berger is internationally recognized as a leading authority on the music of Duke Ellington and the swing era. Conductor and arranger for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra from 1988 through 1994, Mr. Berger has transcribed more than 700 full scores of classic recordings, including nearly 500 works by Duke Ellington and his collaborator, Billy Strayhorn. In 1996, he teamed with choreographer Donald Byrd to create The Harlem Nutcracker, a full-length dance piece that expands on Tchaikovsky's classic ballet with new jazz arrangements and interpretations from Ellington and Strayhorn's 1960 version of The Nutcracker Suite. A 15-piece band, known as "The Sultans of Swing," was assembled to play this show, and continues to record and play Mr. Berger's music for listeners and swing dancers all over the U.S. and Europe. Mr. Berger has written music for television, Broadway shows including Sophisticated Ladies, films including The Cotton Club and Brighton Beach Memoirs, and dozens of singers, bands, orchestras and dance companies. His jazz compositions, 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, Mr. Berger resides in New York City, where he teaches at the Juilliard School. Mr. Berger has transcribed the majority of the Essentially Ellington charts, conducted workshops, and annually serves as a judge at the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival.