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Richard DeRosa

Richard DeRosa

Associate Professor of Jazz Arranging


Jazz Studies

Contact Information

Office Location: 
Music Building
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Richard DeRosa is currently active as the chief conductor and musical arranger for the prestigious WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. His first CD/DVD recording with the band (released in 2015) features the music of Ron Carter, the legendary jazz bassist, who is featured with the band. The project, titled My Personal Songbook, is available via Amazon and I-Tunes. Other recent projects with guest artists include Joshua Redman, Kurt Elling, Ute Lemper, Patti Austin and the New York Voices.

Mr. DeRosa has also arranged and conducted music for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to feature Toots Thielemans, Annie Ross, Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, and Roberta Gambarini among several other notable artists including a collaborative theater project (A Bed and a Chair) with Stephen Sondheim and an arrangement of The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea for the successful Broadway show After Midnight.

Other commissioned arrangements have been recorded by the Mel Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, and Glenn Miller big bands, vocalist Susannah McCorkle, rising trumpet star Dominick Farinacci on his CD Lovers, Tales, and Dances, and acclaimed solo violinist Anne Akiko Meyers on her CD Seasons….Dreams. Mr. DeRosa has also served as co-arranger, orchestrator, and conductor for the critically acclaimed recording projects When Winter Comes featuring guitarist Fred Fried, Dial & Oatts: Brassworks, and their recently released double CD project That Music Always Round Me which garnered a 4-star review in Down Beat Magazine. Dial & Oatts composed music to fifteen poems by Walt Whitman and brought in DeRosa to create the arrangements for choir to be featured with a jazz chamber group that features Dial on piano, Oatts on saxophones and flute and guest trumpeter Terell Stafford.

Mr. DeRosa’s arrangements for orchestra have been performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Pops, the Portland Maine Pops, the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Metropole Orchestra in Holland and the Swedish Television and Radio Orchestra in Stockholm. Other European jazz bands, including the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, have commissioned his compositions and arrangements.

Mr. DeRosa’s compositions for television, film, and theater include background music cues for Another World, As the World Turns, The Guiding Light, commercials for Telex, Bristol-Meyers, and Kodak, various documentaries broadcast on PBS, orchestrations for independent films Gray Matters, Falling For Grace, and Standard Time, and more than twenty original music scores for the national touring U.S. theater company ArtsPower as well as orchestrations for Frankenstein, the Musical. He has also composed scores for videos and hundreds of audiobooks for publishing companies including Bantam Doubleday Dell, Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Prentice-Hall.

Earlier in his career as a performer, DeRosa toured and recorded with Gerry Mulligan, Bob Brookmeyer, Susannah McCorkle, Jackie Cain & Roy Kral, Chuck Wayne, and Marlene VerPlanck. Other employers include Marian McPartland, Gene Bertoncini, Warren Vache, Larry Elgart, Peter Nero, and vocalist Chris Connor.

Mr. DeRosa is also a dedicated educator. He was recently promoted to full professor at the University of North Texas where he is the director of jazz composition and arranging. His former teaching posts were at William Paterson University, Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School where he taught advanced jazz arranging for studio orchestra. He is the author of Concepts for Improvisation: A Comprehensive Guide for Performing and Teaching (Hal Leonard Publications) and Acoustic and MIDI Orchestration for the Contemporary Composer (Focal Press) co-authored with Dr. Andrea Pejrolo. The latter book has experienced worldwide success having been translated into Chinese in a subsequent edition. An expanded English edition will be published in 2016.

Mr. DeRosa’s service to teaching was recognized in the 3rd edition (1994) of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. His publications for public school jazz ensembles are available through Alfred Music (Belwin Jazz), Smart Chart Music, J.W. Pepper, Barnhouse Music, and E-Jazz Lines while a few of his works for professional bands are available through Sierra Music. Mr. DeRosa remains active as an adjudicator and clinician for music festivals and is the artistic director for AJV (American Jazz Venues), an organization created by his late father, noted jazz education pioneer, Clem DeRosa.