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Tony Award Winner Don Sebesky’s Papers at the Library

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The Music Division is excited to announce the arrival of the Don Sebesky Papers at the Library of Congress. Sebesky has led a distinguished career as a composer, arranger, conductor, and performer. His work has made a lasting impression on the worlds of Broadway, orchestras, film, and television. Learn more about Sebesky below.

Don Sebesky Conducting (2011), Courtesy of Don Sebesky
Don Sebesky Conducting (2011), Courtesy of Don Sebesky

Don Sebesky (b. Perth Amboy, New Jersey, 1937) is an accomplished, respected and highly successful composer, arranger, conductor and performer who has worked with some of the leading symphony orchestras of the world and  has a long list of Broadway theater credits. He is also well-known for his collaborations with top selling artists in pop and jazz, such as Tony Bennett, Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Stan Kenton, Wes Montgomery, Buddy Rich and Vanessa Williams.

Sebesky has received numerous awards, including a Drama Desk Award, three GRAMMYs and two Tonys (including Best Orchestration in 2015 for An American in Paris), and he has composed and arranged for film, television and many well-known commercials. His career as an arranger took off when he joined the staff of Verve Records in 1965. He is also the author of the best-selling orchestration text book, The Contemporary Arranger. Sebesky recently donated his papers to the Library’s Music Division.

Selected Credits:
Broadway: An American in Paris (2015 Tony Award), Porgy and Bess (London production by Trevor Nunn), Sinatra at the Palladium, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate (2000 Tony Award), Bells are Ringing, Parade, and Will Rogers Follies

Film: The Rosary Murders (starring Donald Sutherland), Hollow Image (with Morgan Freeman), and The Last of the Belles (with Susan Sarandon)

Don Sebesky in the studio (Courtesy of Don Sebesky/Joe DeVico, JVD Music)
Don Sebesky in the studio (Courtesy of Don Sebesky/Joe DeVico, JVD Music)

Don Sebesky and JDV Music and Design. “About Don Sebesky.”

Masterworks Broadway. “Don Sebesky.”

Patrick T. Will and Barry Kernfeld. “Sebesky, Don.” The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed.. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press,

As many collections are stored off-site, researchers are asked to make an appointment to use the Don Sebesky Papers by contacting the Music Division in advance.

Don Sebesky pictured with colleagues (Courtesy of Don Sebesky/Joe DeVico, JVD Music)
Don Sebesky pictured with colleagues (Courtesy of Don Sebesky/Joe DeVico, JVD Music)

Selected Additional Don Sebesky Resources at the Library
Sebesky, Don. A Christmas carol / Don Sebesky ; Charles Dickens. [United States] : Cymbaline Music, c2004.
1 score (173 p.) ; 43 cm.
M1500.S464 C56 2004

Sebesky, Don. The contemporary arranger / by Don Sebesky. Definitive ed. Van Nuys, CA : Alfred Pub. Co., c1994.
xv, 237 p. : ill. ; 31 cm.
MT70 .S4 1994
ISBN: 0882844857

Sebesky, Don. prf Don Sebesky and the jazz-rock syndrome [sound recording]. New York : Verve, [1968]
1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/3 rpm, stereo. ; 12 in.
V6-8756 Verve Verve V6-8756

Sebesky, Don. Jazz ensemble, orchestra music Three works for jazz soloists and symphony orchestra [sound recording] New York, N.Y. : Gryphon, c1979.
2 sound discs : 33 1/3 rpm, stereo. ; 12 in.

Sondheim, Stephen. cmp Musicals Selections; arranged Symphonic Sondheim [sound recording]. Hayes, Middlesex, England : EMI Classics ; Hollywood, Calif. : Angel Records (dist.), p1991.
1 sound disc (53 min., 48 sec.) : digital, stereo. ; 4 3/4 in.
CDC 7 54285 2 EMI Classics SDB 13047


  1. My first introduction to Don’s work was the albun “White Rabbit” by George Benson. It struck me as a tasteful yet risky supplement to the work I was familiar with at the time. Jazz with strings is generally to my ear a put-off, drawing straight lines about a conical weave in a graphic going in two directions that never meet at the same plane . I came to appreciate the arrangements and absorbed, over time, the added colors he painted with the instruments of the orchestra. The all-star cast, each accomplished within their own identities , represent a rare moment that brings them together for this unique set in Giant Box, what I am listening to now, released in 1973. I look forward to discovering more of his unique voice that spans across several music idioms. The recording quality is always a factor revealing his professional skills, for which many of us are grateful .

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