A native of Pittsburgh currently residing in the great state of Wyoming, Eric Richards is a versatile and widely performed composer/arranger, conductor, trombonist and educator active in a wide range of musical media and genres. As a composer who defines himself as a “contemporary American eclectic”, he has written music for groups ranging from rural high school marching bands to chamber music ensembles to nationally recognized big bands and symphony orchestras. Eric’s work as a composer/arranger and trombonist has been heard on six continents in performances and recordings by professional and academic ensembles in major concert venues across the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia and India to include:
• National Symphony Orchestra
• Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
• Boston Pops Orchestra
• Detroit Symphony Orchestra
• New York Pops Orchestra
• Chiara String Quartet
• US Army Field Band and Jazz Ambassadors
• USAF Band and the Airmen of Note
• USAF Academy Falconaires
• US Army Band (Pershing's Own)
• US Marine Band (The President's Own)
• Sydney Jazz Orchestra (Australia)
• University of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab Band I
• University of North Texas Wind Ensemble
• Shanghai Conservatory of Music Jazz Ensemble
• Carnegie Hall (New York)
• Midwest Clinic (Chicago)
• Montreux, North Sea, and Nice Jazz Festivals.
Recent engagements as a guest composer, conductor and teacher include residencies or commissions at:
• Washington State University
• Lamont School of Music (University of Denver)
• Colorado Christian University
• Shanghai Conservatory of Music
• Taipei Jazz Orchestra
• Winona State University
• Yellowstone Jazz Camp
• Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra (Denver, CO).
Dr. Richards currently serves as the Director of Bands and Jazz Studies at Sheridan College where he serves as Music Director of the SC Symphony Band, Jazz Ensemble, Jazztet, Concert Brass Ensemble, Trombone Choir, Pep Band, and teaches applied brass, composition, History of Jazz, and leads program initiatives in recruiting, outreach, and curriculum development. From 2008 – 2015, he served as tenured Associate Professor of Composition and Jazz Studies in the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At UNL, he mentored first-year through doctoral students in applied composition (classical and jazz/vernacular styles), taught related courses such as Orchestration and Jazz Arranging, and organized and led the award-winning UNL Jazz Orchestra “2.0”, an innovative 21st Century jazz ensemble combining traditional big band instrumentation with strings, horn, and percussion. His students have been the recipients of commissions, numerous awards for their creative work (to include the Downbeat Student Music Awards and the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award) and collegiate faculty appointments. He is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at UNL. Eric has led the Connecticut, Florida, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming All State High School Jazz Ensembles as well as the Southern California Honor Jazz All-Stars in concert performance.
From 1984 – 2004, Eric served as Composer/Arranger with The United States Army Field Band, the Army’s premiere touring musical organization based near Washington DC. Audiences worldwide enjoyed his music for jazz orchestra, wind ensemble, symphony orchestra, and voices. He honorably retired as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer at the rank of Master Sergeant (E-8). Eric earned the Doctor of Musical Arts (Composition) degree from the University of Maryland at College Park where he studied with Mark Wilson and Robert Gibson. He holds the Master of Music (Composition) and Bachelor of Science (Music Education) degrees from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where he studied with John “Doc” Wilson, Joseph Willcox Jenkins, and Matty Shiner.