Steve Sandberg is an eclectic musician with a lifetime of experience in many worlds of music.
He is a three-time Emmy-nominated composer whose scoring, songwriting and musical direction for “Dora the Explorer”, “Go, Diego, Go!” and “Dora and Friends” helped make these shows the landmarks they are in children’s television worldwide.
He began classical piano studies at age 4 and won a BMI composers award before attending Yale University, where he majored in musical theory and composition. At Yale, his studies with noted African art theorist Robert Farris Thompson inspired him to immerse himself in the world of Afro-Caribbean music. Upon returning to NYC he played with, arranged and composed for some of the great salsa artists of the 1970s and 1980s, including Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, and Daniel Ponce (featuring Tito Puente). A highlight of this period was an appearance in Rio and São Paolo opening for the legendary João Gilberto in a duo with vocalist Bebel Gilberto. He also toured with David Byrne (“Rei Momo”) as keyboardist and vocalist.
Steve has conducted and arranged on Broadway (Chronicle of a Death Foretold) and for many regional and Off-Broadway theatres, including the New York Shakespeare Festival.
Steve has performed improvised electronic multimedia concerts at the Knitting Factory, The Guggenheim Museum, Le Petit Versailles, and the Stone, featuring his unique voice on the breath-controlled Yamaha VL70 synthesizer. These concerts were heavily influenced by his studies of North Indian raga singing.
His latest project is the Steve Sandberg Quartet. SSQ concerts begin with performances from the solo piano repertoire (including original compositions), and continue with the quartet’s soaring improvisations on originals that draw from European, African, Latin, Balkan and Indian traditions. One listener described the experience as listening to “music from a country I’ve never been to but always wanted to visit.”
The group made its debut in June, 2016, with a sold-out show at the DiMenna Center in NYC, recorded its first CD on artistShare records, and has appeared at Birdland, NYC, the Side Door Jazz Club, the Deerhead Inn, and other prominent venues.