Photo by M.T. Regan
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 750 full scores of classic recordings, including more than 500 works by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Several of these transcriptions in addition to a number of original arrangements are featured in the recent Broadway hit, After Midnight.
Mr. Berger's work with dance companies spans the last 40 years. He has arranged and conducted for Alvin Ailey, New York City Ballet and Dance Theater of Harlem. In 1996 Berger collaborated with choreographer Donald Byrd to create and tour the 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 has released 7 CDs and actively performs Berger’s music both in New York and on tours throughout the United States and Europe.
Berger has written music for symphony orchestras, television, Broadway shows (Sophisticated Ladies) and films (Cotton Club, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and The Great Debaters) and has composed and arranged for hundreds of jazz groups including Duke Ellington, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Quincy Jones and the WDR Big Band. He has also arranged for dozens of singers including Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Freda Payne, Natalie Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Madeleine Peyroux, Milt Grayson, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Susan Graham, Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman and Mary Martin.
Mr. Berger writes a weekly blog about the intersection of life and art, and has authored five books. He has several more in the pipeline as well as two theatrical shows. After 30 years of teaching in conservatories, he now travels around the US and Europe sharing his expertise with high school and college students.
Photo by John Meloy
Chuck Israels is a composer/arranger/bassist who has worked with Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, J.J. Johnson, John Coltrane, and many others. He is best known for his work with the Bill Evans Trio from 1961 through 1966 and for his pioneering accomplishments in Jazz Repertory as Director of the National Jazz Ensemble from 1973 to 1981.
Among Chuck's many recordings as a bassist, some outstanding ones include: Coltrane Time, with John Coltrane; My Point of View, with Herbie Hancock; Getz au Go-Go, with Stan Getz; and many recordings with the Bill Evans Trio, including The Town Hall Concert; The Second Trio; Trio '65; Live at the Trident; Time Remembered; and Live at Shelley's Manne Hole.
Recently retired from directing the jazz studies program at Western Washington University, Chuck has moved to Portland, OR to work in its vibrant jazz community and participate in his favorite Northwest city’s cultural life.