Steve Weisberg (born 1963 in Norfolk, Virginia, United States) is an American composer/arranger/pianist and international recording artist/producer. In the 80’s, after studying with Michael Gibbs at Berklee College in Boston, Massachusetts, he recorded the XtraWatt/ECM release “I Can’t Stand Another Night Alone (In Bed With You),” produced by Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, recorded and performed with Karen Mantler and her Cat Arnold, and contributed arrangements for Hal Willner’s Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill (A&M). He was also a member of infamous Boston band Sons of Sappho. In addition, he has contributed music to the films Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Don’t Say a Word, Impostor, Runaway Jury, Bewitched, the 2006 documentary The Ground Truth, Step Brothers, The Express: The Ernie Davis Story, and the documentary Banner On The Moon.
Through the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s, he performed in and around New York City with the Steve Weisberg & His Orchestra, a 13-piece ensemble consisting of many of New York’s noteworthy jazz luminaries and trend-setters.
He spent the 1990s performing with Flamin’ Amy Coleman and acting as musical director for off-off-Broadway musicals, including a 1995 run at La MaMa in New York City’s East Village with the critically acclaimed original musical, “The House of Nancy Dunn” (co-written with Andrew Craft, JJ Hickey, and Howard Pflanzer).
Weisberg re-emerged in 2002 to arrange for Hal Willner’s Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen (Sony). He moved to Los Angeles in 2003, and in 2004 continued to act as musical director/arranger for two Hal Willner events: “Shock & Awe: The Music of Randy Newman,” featuring Los Lobos, Howard Tate, Gavin Friday, Victoria Williams, Vic Chestnutt, Stan Ridgeway, and Van Dyke Parks, and “Let’s Eat: A Tribute to The Firesign Theater,” featuring John Goodman, George Wendt, Howard Hesseman, Todd Rundgren, Loudon Wainwright III, Chloe Webb, and David Thomas (Pere Ubu).
In 2006, he produced the critically acclaimed studio release Portrait of Howard by 60’s soul legend Howard Tate, which features Lou Reed, Carla Bley, Larry Goldings, Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher of Elvis Costello fame, along with a 20-piece orchestra.
In 2007, he acted as musical director and arranger for Perla Batalla’s “The Gospel According to Leonard Cohen,” an all-star tribute concert in Los Angeles including Jackson Browne, Michael McDonald, Howard Tate, Bill Frisell, and Jill Sobule.
Also in 2007, he was associate producer, musical director, and Arranger for Hal Willner’s “Forest of No Return: Music from Vintage Disney Films”, presented at London’s Royal Festival Hall as part of Meltdown Festival 2007 (curated by Jarvis Cocker). Performers at the event included Cocker, Shane MacGowan, Nick Cave, Grace Jones, Pete Doherty, Beth Orton, David Thomas (Pere Ubu), Róisín Murphy (Moloko), Ed Harcourt, Marshall Allen (Sun Ra), Terry Adams (NRBQ), Steven Bernstein, Howie B, Richard Strange, and Gavin Friday.
In 2007, he was pianist and an arranger for Hal Willner’s “Doc Pomus Project”, presented as part of the “Celebrate Brooklyn!” concert series in New York. The event featured Lou Reed, Ben E. King, Howard Tate, Joseph Arthur, Shannon McNally, Jenni Muldaur, Eric Mingus, Steven Bernstein, Laurie Anderson, Joel Dorn, Sharon Jones, and Robin Holcomb.
In 2008, his musical arrangements can be heard on Marianne Faithfull’s album, Easy Come, Easy Go. In April he served as musical director and arranger for Hal Willner’s Disney benefit event for St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York. The event featured David Byrne, Suzanne Vega, Beth Orton, Sharon Jones, Garth Hudson, David Johansen, Steve Buscemi, Gavin Friday, Eric Mingus, Karen Mantler, Terry Adams, and Marshall Allen.
In 2009, he produced and arranged the new CD Invocations by singer/songwriter Jeremy Lev, and arranged strings on a release for Val McCallum. He also collaborated with Lee Curreri on the score for the feature film Meskada.
In 2010, he was musical director for the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Solidarity Movement founded by Lech Walesa in Gdansk, Poland with artistic director Robert Wilson and music producer Hal Willner, and featuring Macy Gray, Marianne Faithfull, Rufus Wainwright, and Angelique Kidjo. In addition, he produced tracks for ‘operapper’ Reggie Bennett (a classically trained baritone singer and rapper) creating a new genre combining hip-hop and operatic style singing. His string arrangements can be heard on the song “Even Now Part One” by Diego Clare.
In 2010 he also composed the soundtrack for Eva Longoria’s documentary Latinos Living The American Dream.
In 2011 he was music supervisor and also contributed music to the feature film Atlas Shrugged – Part 1. He also wrote the musical scores for films Being Ron Jeremy and Eyeball Eddie, and TV series What Remains.
In 2011 he was also co-musical director for “Hal Willner’s Shelabration — Celebrating the Work of Shel Silverstein” at the Central Park Summerstage series in New York City featuring Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Emily Haines, Sally Timms of The Mekons, Bobby Bare Jr., Suzanne Vega, Steven Bernstein, Roswell Rudd, Terry Adams, Richard Belzer, Darryl Hammond, Dan Zanes, Reggie Bennett, Pat Dailey, Annabella Sciorra, The Handsome Family, Martha Wainwright, Melvin Van Peebles, Shilpa Ray, Gary Lucas, Duke McVinnie, and Chloe Webb.
He continued to perform as musical director and pianist for soul legend Howard Tate until Tate’s death in 2011, and appears on his limited vinyl-only direct-to-disc live recording from Blue Heaven Studios.
2012 marked the return of live performance by Steve Weisberg and his 18 piece Orchestra in and around the Los Angeles area and a residency at the Center for the Art of Performance (CAP) at UCLA.
In 2013, Anti Records released Hal Willner’s Son of Rogue’s Gallery, a compilation of sea chanteys with multiple arrangements by Weisberg for artists including Beth Orton, Johnny Depp, Shane MacGowan, Macy Gray, Tim Robbins, and Anjelica Huston.
His arrangements can be heard on 2014 releases from Jill Sobule (“Dottie’s Charms”) and Andre Stevens-Thomas. That year he was also musical director for Hal Willner’s celebration of Allan Sherman which included Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, Jill Sobule, Mary Lee Kortes, Tony Torn, and many others.
In April 2015 Weisberg performed musical director/arranging duties for the critically acclaimed Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ at Los Angeles’s Ace Theater produced by Hal Willner. Featured artists included Nick Cave, Lucinda Williams, Courtney Love, Beth Orton, Macy Gray, Sam Amidon, Andy Kim, Kevin Drew, Van Dyke Parks, The Section String Quartet, Devendra Banhardt, Lori Singer, Amy Poehler, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, Peaches, Mocean Worker, Eric Mingus, Petra Haden, Tim Robbins, Chloe Webb, and Hal Willner.
In 2015, Weisberg arranged the strings for a Carnegie Hall tribute concert to honor Bill Withers with Ed Sheerin, Dr. John, Anthony Hamilton, Aloe Blacc, Keb’ Mo’, Michael McDonald, Jonathan Butler, Amos Lee, Ledisi, Gregory Porter, Branford Marsalis, Valerie Simpson, and under the musical direction of Greg Phillinganes.
In 2016 Weisberg provided arrangements for a new staged version of Yentl with songs by Jill Sobule for the Jewish Repertory Theater in St. Louis, Missouri. He also is a co-producer (with Clayton Cages,) arranger, and contributor on recordings by the Chase d’Arnaud Band (of the Atlanta Braves) for El Raydar Records.
In 2017 Weisberg produced an EP for Andre Stevens Thomas and wrote arrangements for Børns, Gaby Moreno, Father John Misty, Maria Mckee, Todd Rundgren with Donald Fagen, Kesha, Perry Farrell, Nena, Gavin Friday, and Victoria Williams for a Hal Willner-produced project on the music of T Rex. He served as one of the musical directors, arrangers and conductors for The Leonard Cohen Memorial Tribute in Montreal with Sting, Elvis Costello, K. d. lang, Feist, Ron Sexsmith, Lana Del Rey, The Lumineers, and many others.
In 2018, Weisberg contributed string arrangements for Børns’ Blue Madonna album on Interscope records. He toured that year as musical director with the mythical Tony Clifton and his trio.
Currently he arranges for and performs regularly with Suzy Williams (of Stormin’ Norman and Suzy fame), including their current project “Suzy sings Judy”, with selected songs from the Judy Garland songbook.
In 2020, BMG released ‘Angel Headed Hipster: the Music of Marc Bolan and T. rex’, the final release from the late great Hal Willner. Weisberg’s arrangements can be heard on many of the tracks.
His orchestra continues to perform in and around the Los Angeles area, and has featured the talents of Terry Adams (NRBQ), Gaby Moreno, Abiah, Jill Sobule, Petra Haden, Perla Batalla, Børns, Mocean Worker, Chloe Webb, Joseph Keckler, Angela Ai, Suzy Williams, Donna Washington, Deborah Pardes, Madame Dee, and many others.
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- musicbrainz.org https://musicbrainz.org/artist/913ff615-c4be-4e84-…
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