Richard DeRosa

Richard DeRosa

Professor of Jazz Arranging


Jazz Studies

Contact Information

Office Location: 
Music Building
Office #: 

Richard DeRosa received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition in 2015 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 (released in 2015) which features the music of legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter who is featured with the band. His newest CD with the band is Rediscovered Ellington (released in 2017) which features his longtime music partners Garry Dial & Dick Oatts. Together they created unique and modern renditions of Duke’s rare and unheard tunes. Other WDR projects with guest artists include Joshua Redman, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Patti Austin, the New York Voices, Richie Beirach & Gregor Huebner, Ola Onabulé, Ute Lemper, Bill Mays & Marvin Stamm, and Warren Vaché.

Since 2001 Mr. DeRosa has arranged and conducted music for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincon Center 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. Mr. DeRosa also contributed arrangements for the Wynton with Strings concert celebration in 2005 and most recently conducted and created new arrangements for the Bernstein at 100 concerts in November 2017.

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 that feature arrangements for classical and jazz choirs and jazz chamber group that features 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 forAnother 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, A New 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 Vaché, Larry Elgart, Peter Nero, and vocalist Chris Connor.

Mr. DeRosa is a full professor at the University of North Texas and the director of jazz composition and arranging. In 2017 he was the recipient of the Presidential Excellence Award – the most esteemed honor for faculty. Also in 2017, his CD Perseverance was released as part of the jazz program's Legacy CD series. It features his compositions and arrangements recorded by UNT students from the One O'Clock and Two O'Clock Lab Bands and the Concert Orchestra which recorded his Suite For An Anniversary. This piece was commissioned by UNT to commemorate the university's 125th anniversary. Professor DeRosa's former teaching positions were at William Paterson University and Manhattan School of Music. He also taught advanced jazz arranging for studio orchestra at The Juilliard School. 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 and has been translated into Chinese in a subsequent edition. A new expanded English edition was published in October of 2016.

Mr. DeRosa’s 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 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.