Edward “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death in a career spanning over 50 years. Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Often collaborating with others, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his works having become standards. Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and charisma, Ellington is considered to have elevated the perception of jazz as an art form. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for music in 1999.