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Shelly Berg

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Name  Shelly Berg

Role  Jazz Pianist
Shelly Berg jwpjazzcomShellyBerg2005jpg
Albums  Lauridsen: Northwest Journey, Space Available
Education  Moores School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music
Nominations  Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals
Similar People  Lorraine Feather, Arturo Sandoval, Bill Watrous, Wayne Bergeron, Morten Lauridsen

Osn de cr rhapsody and blue shelly berg piano

Shelton Glen "Shelly" Berg (born August 18, 1955) is an American pianist, composer, arranger, orchestrator, and producer. He is the Dean and Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.


Shelly berg trio blame it on the sun

Early life and career

Shelly Berg Shelly Berg Trio

Shelly Berg was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of business entrepreneur and jazz trumpet player Jay Berg, and writer Lorraine Merle Joseph Berg. At the age of six he entered the Cleveland Institute of Music studying classical piano. At age 9 he composed his first work, for children's choir and orchestra, for the opening of a new synagogue. His father took him to sit in at jazz jam sessions beginning at age 12, and he was introduced to gospel piano by organist Ricky C. Watkins, son of Pentecostal Church Bishop Charles Watkins. In junior high he was the piano accompanist and played in orchestras for Heights Youth Theater, as well as summer stock musicals. He was also accompanist for the vocal group Happiness Unlimited.

At age 15 Shelly Berg moved with his family to Houston, Texas where he continued his classical piano studies with Lucien Lemieux. He performed at jam sessions with jazz saxophonist Arnette Cobb, and gigs with blues legend Gatemouth Brown. He was the student conductor for choirs at Clear Creek High School, and played French horn and trumpet in the band.

Shelly Berg Shelly Berg Trio Concord Music Group

He earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance (1977, summa cum laude) and a Master of Music in Piano Performance (Composition, Conducting, 1979, summa cum laude) from the University of Houston School of Music where he studied piano with Albert Hirsh, and was the student conductor for choir and orchestra. During his freshman year he subbed for a week with the Woody Herman Band, and performed throughout his college career with a variety of touring professional artists. He also served as a lecturer at the University of Houston, 1979-1981, and a teaching assistant in music theory, 1977-1979. The University of Houston named Shelly Berg a "Top Ten" Student (out of 40,000) in 1977, as well as a "Top-Five" Graduate in the College of Fine Arts.

Shelly Berg began his career at San Jacinto College North in Northshore, Texas, as Chair of Instrumental Music, 1979-1981. He then served as Chair of Instrumental Music and Commercial Music at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas from 1981-1991. He performed extensively in professional groups including Larry and Marilyn and the Brass Connection, featuring trumpeter Larry Martinez and singer Marilyn Savage. He learned to play Latin montunos from Kido Zapata during this time. He composed and arranged music for regional and national advertising campaigns, and maintained an active performing and recording career with artists ranging from Country music singer Mickey Gilley to jazz trombonist Bill Watrous.


Shelly Berg moved to Los Angeles, California in 1991 to join the music faculty at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. He was the McCoy/Sample Endowed Professor of Jazz 2004-2007; Chair of Jazz Studies, 1994-2004; Professor, 1998-2007; Associate Professor, 1995-1998; and Assistant Professor, 1991-1995. He was named one of three "Educators for the Millennium" by The Los Angeles Times, 1999, and received the Dean's Award for Scholarship and Research, USC Thornton School of Music, 2005.

Shelly Berg Shelly Berg Trio Concord Music Group

He authored Jazz Improvisation: The Goal-Note Method (Kendor), the Chop-Monster jazz improvisation series (Alfred), Essentials of Jazz Theory series (Alfred), and co-authored Rhythm Section Workshop for Jazz Directors (Alfred) plus numerous arrangements for jazz big band published by Kendor, and Walrus.

Berg also worked with Hollywood studio arranger-orchestrator Richard Henry "Dick" Marx and Tom Halm at Sunset Sound Recording Studios. He was a composer and arranger for the CBS television series A League of Their Own (1993), the weekly ABC television series Fudge (1995-1997), and was orchestrator for the motion picture Almost Heroes. He recorded critically acclaimed albums with the Shelly Berg Trio including The Joy (DMP, 1995), The Will: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson (CARS, 1998), and Blackbird (Concord Records, 2005). In 2006, he arranged most of the songs on the album entitled Ray Sings, Basie Swings (Concord, 2006) and was music director and pianist on the Great Performances television show We Love Ella! A Tribute to the First Lady of Song (PBS, 2007).


In April 2007 Shelly Berg was named Dean and the Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. In addition, he is a master teacher for the Frost Experiential Music Curriculum.

While in Miami, he earned his first Grammy nomination in the category "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)" for his arrangement of "Out There" on Lorraine Feather's album Tales of the Unusual (Jazzed Media, 2013). He was nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award as co-producer of Gloria Estefan: The Standards (Sony MasterWorks) in the Best Traditional Pop Album category, and received an additional Grammy nomination for the same project in the category Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) category for his arrangement of "What a Wonderful World." He was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award in the Best Arrangement Instrumental and Vocals category for his arrangement of "Be My Muse" on the Lorraine Feather album Flirting with Disaster (Jazzed Media).

Shelly Berg is the music director of The Jazz Cruise (Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC) and artistic advisor to Larry Rosen's JazzRoots Series at the Adrienne Arsht Center of Miami-Dade County. He is also the host of the monthly Generation Next Sirius XM radio show.


As leader / co-leader

As arranger / orchestrator / side musician

Film, television, and radio

As composer / arranger / orchestrator / performer / musical director



Selected Honors and Awards

Original Compositions

See ASCAP Searchable Database / ACE Repertory


Shelly Berg Wikipedia