Sullivan Fortner was born and raised in New Orleans. He started playing the piano from the age of four. His mother was the choir director of a Baptist church; he began playing the organ there at the age of seven. After studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Sullivan went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
For more than a decade, Sullivan Fortner has been stretching deep-rooted talents as a pianist, composer, band leader and uncompromising individualist. The GRAMMY® -Award-winning artist received international praise as both key player and producer for his collaborative work on The Window, alongside Cecile McLorin Salvant with whom he frequently tours and records. As a solo leader, he has released four recordings to critical acclaim: Moments Preserved; Aria; Tea For Two; Solo Game.
In addition to his associations with such diverse voices as Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Diane Reeves, Etienne Charles and John Scofield, Sullivan’s frequent and longtime collaborators have included Ambrose Akinmusire, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stefon Harris, Tivon Pennicott, Peter Bernstein, Nicholas Payton, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Fred Hersch and the late Roy Hargrove. Recent collaborations include GRAMMY-nominated releases Dear Love (Empress Legacy) and Generations from leaders Jazzmeia Horn and The Baylor Project, respectively.
Sullivan’s accolades include the 2015 Cole Porter Fellowship awarded by the American Pianists Association, Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists and the prestigious Shifting Foundation Grant for artistic career development.