David Torkanowsky is one of New Orleans’ premier contemporary jazz pianists, composers, and arrangers. “Tork” was born in New Orleans in 1956, the son of classical conductor Werner Torkanowsky and flamenco artist Theresa Torkanowsky. He learned to play piano early on, and was schooled in the ways of New Orleans music by legends such as Danny Barker, David Lastie and Ellis Marsalis.
Torkanowsky is perhaps best known in the Crescent City as a member of Astral Project, one of the city’s most venerable modern jazz ensembles. He left the group in 2009 due to his other career demands, including composing and producing. He has worked relentlessly over the course of his 50-plus year career, appearing on nearly 200 recordings as a side performer, composer, arranger, or frontman.
He toured with jazz heavyweights like Boney James and Dianne Reeves, for whom he also served as long-time music director. Torkanowsky is also a prolific writer and arranger, with scoring credits on everything from jingles to Hollywood movies, including “The Big Easy” (1996), “Alabama Moon” (2009), and “Preacher” (2016).
Torkanowsky records and performs with a Who’s Who of musical New Orleans, including Soul Queen Irma Thomas, Harry Shearer, Evan Christopher, Zigaboo Modeliste of The Meters, Anders Osborne, and Ellis Marsalis.