Jeff Sultanof Biography

"Jeff is one of the few arrangers who can write swing for a symphony orchestra that classically-trained musicians love playing." James Maher

Jeffrey Sultanof has had an eclectic career as a composer, arranger, conductor, historian, editor, author and teacher, and his life path continues to grow and flourish.

He studied clarinet with Augustin Duques, the solo clarinetist of the NBC symphony under Arturo Toscanini, and conducting with Roger Nierenberg, conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony for many years. In 1973, he met Jerry Graff, the musical director of the vocal group The Beachcombers, considered the top lounge act in Las Vegas in the 1950s. Sultanof became Graff’s protégé, and was soon known all over the New York show business scene as a vocal arranger, orchestrator and conductor. Jeff would become Graff’s orchestrator and producer over a thirty-five year period.

Sultanof worked at Warner Bros. Publications from 1977-1994 as an educational music editor, editor/arranger for ensembles large and small, and historian, preparing corrected editions of Gershwin, Porter and other legendary American composers. He worked with Burt Bachrach, Neal Hefti, Gordon Lightfoot and John Williams, arranging his “Liberty Fanfare” for Brass Quintet. He prepared facsimile editions of the orchestral music of George Gershwin, and edited “Arranged by Nelson Riddle,” an arranging text completed before Riddle’s death.

From 1994-2002, he was an editor and consultant with the Hal Leonard Corporation, where he worked with Sonny Rollins, Ahmad Jamal, Ron Carter, Benny Green, Billy Childs, Andy Laverne and Gerry Mulligan, producing the last recordings of Mulligan as a baritone saxophonist. From 2002-2005, he was assistant professor of music at Five Towns College, arranging for and coaching singers, conducting the jazz ensemble, and teaching courses on the music business, music history, and film music on the Bachelor's and Master's degree levels. From 2013-2017, he was an instructor and administrative coordinator of the MEMP (Music and Entertainment Management and Production) program at the Institute of Audio Research in New York City.

He was one of the first editors who championed researched and corrected vintage big band, orchestral, and combo music for use by historians, educators and students. His most notable achievement in this area is a folio of the Miles Davis Nonet repertoire (The Birth of the Cool), published by Hal Leonard Corporation (Sultanof’s in-depth article about this folio was published by the Journal of Jazz Studies and is available online), and over 50 pieces composed and/or arranged by legendary Canadian composer Robert Farnon with the composer’s participation and approval. Sultanof has written hundreds of articles on music and film history; he was the only writer who contributed two articles to The Oxford Companion to Jazz (Oxford Univ. Press); most recently his articles and reviews have appeared on the, Rifftides, and Do the Math websites. In 2017, “Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener’s Companion” was published by Roman & Littlefield to overwhelmingly positive reviews. It has been adopted as a required text at the University of North Texas.

As an arranger, Sultanof has written for Lynn Roberts, Ellen Gould, the Palm Beach Pops, and many other performers and ensembles. He has conducted student and professional symphonic orchestras, wind ensembles, and jazz ensembles all over the United States, and has lectured at Rutgers University, Queens College, George Washington University and The New School for Social Research. Completing a Masters Degree at Seton Hall University in 2018, he is now a library/media teacher in the Paterson School District.

“I am thrilled to be working with Rob, Doug, and Dylan in preparing important American music from original sources, oftentimes working on music that was lost or not known to exist. The overwhelming support we have received from the music community around the world is amazing and drives us to do more. There is a lot of music still to be made available, so we will be doing this a very long time.”

Jeff can be reached at