ERIC RICHARDS is a composer/arranger, conductor, trombonist and educator active in a wide range of musical media and styles. 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 nationally recognized big bands and symphony orchestras. Eric’s music has been heard worldwide in performances and recordings by ensembles to include: The US Army Field Band and The Jazz Ambassadors, The USAF Band and The Airmen Of Note, The Boston Pops Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Wind Symphony, The University Of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab Band I, The Oregon Jazz Ensemble (The University Of Oregon), The University of North Texas Wind Ensemble, The Millikin University Wind Ensemble, A La Carte Brass And Percussion, Tommy Lepson and The Lazy Boys, and The Sunrise String Quartet.
A regularly commissioned composer and arranger, he has written recent commissions for ensembles such as: The USAF Heritage Of America Band, The University Of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab Band I, The UNC Greeley Jazz Festival All Star Big Band, The Southeast Asia Symphonic Youth Orchestra And Wind Ensemble, The Government Of Thailand, The Pennsylvania IAJE High School All-State Jazz Ensemble, The Hall High School Concert Jazz Band and Studio Orchestra (West Hartford, CT), The Trinity Brass (Omaha NE), and The Aiken Community Band (Aiken, SC).
In March 2006, Eric was chosen as one of an international group of 7 composers to present an original work for jazz orchestra at the 1st International Jazz Composition Symposium held at the University of South Florida.
As a conductor, Eric has worked in a broad array of settings, ranging from live concerts of jazz, concert, and chamber music to commercial recording sessions. He has led numerous ensembles in performance/recordings/rehearsals, to include: The United States Army Field Band, The Midland Lutheran College Concert Band, The Midland Jazz Ensemble, The Midland Brass, The Connecticut All State Honors Jazz Ensemble, The Anne Arundel Community College Concert Band, The Anne Arundel Community College Jazz Ensemble, The Anne Arundel Community College Brass Ensemble, The Bay Winds Community Band, The Anne Arundel All County Jazz Ensemble, The Duquesne University Jazz Ensemble, The Duquesne University Lab Band, Jim Elsberry & The Mastersingers, (Omaha NE), and The Bluffs Big Band
As a trombonist, Eric has performed with the numerous ensembles to include The US Army Jazz Ambassadors, The US Army Field Band, The Omaha Jazz Orchestra, and The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra. His work as a trombonist and composer/arranger has been heard at the Montreux, Vienne, North Sea, and Nice Jazz Festivals in Europe and in performances across the United States, Europe, Asia and India. In 1999, Eric’s 25-minute retrospective of the music of Duke Ellington for jazz ensemble and symphony orchestra, An Ellington Centennial Portrait, was premiered by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the US Army Jazz Ambassadors under the direction of Marvin Hamlisch. This piece was subsequently performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City by the National Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz Ambassadors and has since been performed by numerous major orchestras across the United States.
As a freelance trombonist, he has performed with artists such as Ben Vereen, Jack Jones, The Fifth Dimension, the Washington DC–based Klezmer group Lox & Vodka, and numerous commercial and variety bands.
In 2004, Dr. Richards was named Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music Theory/Technology at Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska. From 1984 – 2004, He served as Composer/Arranger with The United States Army Field Band (the Army’s primary touring musical ensemble) based near Washington DC. Eric holds the Doctor of Musical Arts (Composition) degree from The University of Maryland at College Park where he studied with Mark Wilson and Robert Gibson, and earned the Master of Music (Composition) degree from Duquesne University where he studied with John Wilson and Joseph Wilcox Jenkins.
Eric resides in Saunders County, NE with his wife Lanelle and sons Gabriel, Logan, Christian, and Josiah.