Richard (Rick) Lawn is the former the dean of the College of Performing Arts at the University of the Arts. He is now a professor in the School of Music. Formerly, Rick was affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin where he served as director of Jazz Studies, chair of the Department of Music and associate dean for academic affairs. He also served as director of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Arts at UT.
Before joining the Texas faculty, he was director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Iowa. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music where he specialized in woodwind performance and jazz studies. His primary teachers have been Rayburn Wright, Manny Albam, Bill Dobbins, Chuck Mangione and William Osseck.
Rick has received several significant composition grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and, as a member of the Nova Saxophone Quartet, has recorded on the Musical Heritage Society, Crystal and Equilibrium labels. The Sea Breeze record label recently issued "Unknown Soldiers," a CD recorded by the Third Coast Jazz Orchestra that features his compositions and arrangements. It has received favorable reviews in Cadence Magazine and The Austin American Statesman. His arrangement of "Donna Lee" included on this recording was recorded by Bobby Sanabria's New York Latin big band on his 2001 Grammy nominated CD.
In fall 2011, his little big band Power of Ten10 released Earth Tones that includes his original compositions and arrangements of classics by Carole King, Paul McCartney and Paul Chambers. To date, the recording has received favorable reviews from The Philadelphia Inquirer and All About Jazz. The ensemble comprises world class Philadelphia musicians who all teach at the University of the Arts.
Kendor Music, CL Barnhouse, Walrus Music, Concept Music, Alfred Music, Dorn, LawnWorks Publications and UNC Press among others publish his music. Rick's books entitled The Jazz Ensemble Directors Manual (in its 4th edition), Jazz Theory and Practice in its 2nd edition (that includes interactive ear-training software) and Experiencing Jazz have become staples among jazz educators and students. Routledge Press will release a second edition of Experiencing Jazz in 2012.
Ensembles under his direction have won acclaim at national conferences and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe. Rick's performing experiences outside his own ensembles include extended engagements with Lionel Hampton, Chuck Mangione, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Austin Symphony among others. He has performed in back-up orchestras for Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Natalie Cole, Marian McPartland, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Dianne Schuur, Rosemary Clooney and a host of others. Visit his website at RickLawn.com to learn more about the products he makes available.