Richard (Rick) Lawn is the former, now retired Dean of the College of Performing Arts at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (uarts.edu) where he now following retirement professor emeritus in the School of Music. Previously he was the Founding Director of Jazz Studies, Chair of the Department of Music, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the Texas faculty Rick was Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Iowa. Rick holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music where his principal teachers were Rayburn Wright, Bill Dobbins, Chuck Mangione and William Osseck.
Grants from the National Endowment of the Arts have supported his work as a composer, and as a member of the Nova Saxophone Quartet he has recorded on the Musical Heritage Society, Crystal and Equilibrium labels. He has also served on the IAJE Board and contributed numerous articles to this organization’s journal as well as the MENC Journal and the Instrumentalist magazines.
The Sea Breeze record label issued Unknown Soldiers, a CD recorded by the Third Coast Jazz Orchestra featuring his compositions and arrangements. Kendor, CL Barnhouse, Walrus, Concept Music, Alfred, Dorn, and UNC Press music among others publish his compositions included on this web site. Rick’s books entitled The Jazz Ensemble Directors Manual (CL Barnhouse Music), Jazz Theory and Practice (that includes interactive software pub. by Alfred Music), Experiencing Jazz (Routledge Press) , Jazz Scores and Analysis Volumes 1 & 2 (Sher Music) and have become staples among jazz professionals, educators and students.
He has performed with artists such as, Mel Torme, Ray Charles, Nately Cole, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Bill Watrous, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Ford, Rosemary Clooney and many others. Rick performed extensively with Lionel Hampton and Chuck Mangione early in his career. He has also performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Houston Opera Orchestra and the Austin Symphony as well as numerous pit orchestras for Broadway shows.
For many years the Selmer Company sponsored his clinics, performances guest conducting appearances in 13 states. His most recent recording as leader and composer/arranger received strong reviews and was aired across the US. Entitled "Earth Tones" if features Power of 10, a Philadelphia band of some of the finest musicians in the area. The CD is available from CD Baby and other online outlets. Until recently Rick performed with COMPASS, a jazz quartet that played together intermittently for 45 years! It's hard to believe but Frederiksberg Records chose to reissue their one limited release recording "Compass Rises" from 1973! It is available from BandCamp - https://frederiksbergrecords.bandcamp.com/album/compass-rises on high quality vinyl or as a digital download complete with old photos and a history of the quartet.