Sammy Nestico was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and at the age of 17 became staff arranger for the ABC radio station there, WCAE. He received his B.S. degree in music education from Duquesne University, and has thrice been honored by the school with an honorary Doctor of Music degree, the Distinguished Alumni award, and in 1994, he was inducted into the "Century Club".
North Texas State University also presented him with special music awards in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Sammy joined the United States Air Force Band in Washington D.C. as staff arranger, and subsequently became the leader of the famous Airmen of Note. Following his 115-year tenure with the Air Force, he enlisted with the United States marine Band in Washington, serving as chief arranger and director of the White House orchestra which performed for important judicial and congressional social functions during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

In the years between 1970 and 1984, Sammy was the composer/arranger for the Count Basie Orchestra. He directed the recording of ten albums of original music, four of which won Grammy awards. During the same period he was also engaged by Capitol Records as arranger/orchestrator, co-writing the equivalent of 63 albums for that organization.

Sammy has collaborated with Steve Allen, Stan Freberg, Bobby Troupe and Johnny Mercer in the songwriting field, and has orchestrated for such major film studios as 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers, MGM and Columbia.
He has also arranged and/or conducted albums for recordings artists Bing Crosby, Sarah Vaughan, Toni Tennille, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Pia Zadora, Paul Anka, Pat Boone and others.

His television credits are numerous. As arranger, Sammy has written for specials by Julie Andrews, George Burns, Gene Kelly, Merv Griffin, Mary Tyler Moore, Goldie Hawn, The Grammy Awards, The Tonight Show, Perry Como, Toni Tennille, Liza Minelli, Natalie Cole, Bob Hope and many more.
As orchestrator he has worked on Mission Impossible, The Tony Randall Show, Medical Center, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hawaii Five-O, The Bob Newhart Show, Gomer Pyle, The Streets of San Francisco, Mannix, Mayberry RFD, MOD Squad, The Bionic Woman, Cannon, Emergency, Charlie's Angels, The Lou Grant Show, M.A.S.H. and fifty others.

Sammy has also written commercials for Anheuser Busch, Zenith, the Ford Motor Company, Mattel Toys, Pittsburgh Paints, the National Guard, Dodge, Remington, Bank Americard and more.

He is the author of the textbook THE COMPLETE ARRANGER, published in 1993 and currently marketed throughout the world in four languages. His arrangements have been played by leading symphonies, and recorded by the Boston Pops and Andre Kostelanetz orchestras. He is presently (1998/1999) visiting professor at the University of Georgia, teaching commercial orchestration and conducting the Studio Orchestra; but he is most proud of the nearly six hundred numbers published in the educational field and played in the schools of America.