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Richard DeRosa

Richard DeRosa

Professor of Jazz Arranging


Jazz Studies

Contact Information

Office Location: 
Music Building
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Mr. DeRosa is a full professor at the University of North Texas and the director of jazz composition and arranging. His former teaching positions 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: AComprehensive 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 October of 2016.

In 2015 Mr. DeRosa received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition for his big band composition “Neil” which is dedicated to Neil Slater, the former director of the One O’Clock Lab Band. In 2012 the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany, invited Mr. DeRosa to conduct and present his music in concert. After several other engagements with the prestigious band he served as their chief conductor and musical arranger from 2014-2016. He arranged and conducted the CD/DVD recording My Personal Songbook with the band (released in 2015) which features the music of legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter who is featured with the band. Other WDR projects with guest artists include Joshua Redman, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Patti Austin, the New York Voices, Richie Beirach & Gregor Huebner, Garry Dial & Dick Oatts, Ute Lemper, Bill Mays & Marvin Stamm, and Warren Vache.

Since 2001 Mr. DeRosa has 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 that include 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 swing jazz Broadway show After Midnight. He also contributed arrangements for the Wynton with Strings concert celebration in 2005.

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 Down Beat Magazine selected as one of the top recordings in 2015. 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’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, while a few of his works for professional bands are available through Sierra Music. All of this music is available through e-Jazz Lines. Mr. DeRosa remains active as an adjudicator and clinician for schools and 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.