Bill Dobbins is professor of jazz studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he teaches the jazz composing and arranging courses and directs the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Eastman Studio Orchestra. His students have been heard in the big bands of Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Chuck Mangione, Maria Schneider, and Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Holman and Maria Schneider.
As a pianist, he has performed with orchestra and chamber ensembles under the direction of Louis Lane, Pierre Boulez, Lukas Foss and Frederick Fennell, and he has performed and recorded with Clark Terry, Al Cohn, Red Mitchell, Phil Woods, James Moody, Dave Liebman, John Goldsby and Peter Erskine.
From 1994 through 2002 he was principal director of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany, and he headed the jazz studies department at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne from 1998 to 2002. Concert, radio, television and tour projects under his direction with the WDR Big Band featured Clark Terry, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Kevin Mahogany, Art Farmer, Steve Lacy, Paquito D’Rivera, Claire Fischer, Peter Erskine and the Kings Singers.
He continues to collaborate with the WDR Big Band, the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. Schott Music (Germany) publishes his jazz piano transcriptions and textbooks. These include Clare Fischer: Alone Together/Just Me, A Creative Approach to Jazz Piano Harmony, and Arranging for the Contemporary Big Band, Preludes (Volumes 1-4), and a DVD, The Evolution of Solo Jazz Piano.