The 2015 Jazz Fellow

Sullivan Fortner

2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianists Association

Sullivan Fortner is the 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianists Association. A native of New Orleans, he has already made a significant foray into the jazz world that belies his young age. While touring with Stefon Harris & Blackout, Christian Scott Quintet, and the Roy Hargrove Qunitet, Sullivan completed his Master's degree in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Jason Moran and Phil Markowitz. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Sullivan began playing music by ear at the age of seven. Two years later he was playing for church choirs throughout New Orleans. By the time he was 11, Sullivan had won a Cox Cable "Amazing Kids Award." At 13 he furthered his formal education in piano at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and earned scholarships to several prestigious summer jazz programs including Vail Jazz Institute and Skidmore Jazz Studies Summer Program. A standout on the stage and in the classroom, Sullivan was Valedictorian of his high school class. He was selected for a Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship in 2012. He has studied and performed with many great musicians including the Marsalis Family, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Marcus Belgrave, the Jordan Family, Irvin Mayfield, Peter Martin and Dave Liebman.

Sullivan continues to perform and travel with the Roy Hargrove Quintet and the Roberta Gambarini Quintet extensively throughout the US and abroad. In addition he is active in the New York Jazz scene performing/recording with Theo Croker, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ambrose Akinmusure, Christian Scott and Gary Bartz. He is currently a student of Fred Hersch.


photo credit: Mark Sheldon


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