RichardsUNLPhotoFEB2010ERIC RICHARDSa native of Pittsburgh, is a versatile 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 music has been heard worldwide in performances and recordings by ensembles such as:
• The US Army Field Band and Jazz Ambassadors
• The USAF Band and the Airmen of Note
• The US Army Band (Pershing's Own) and the Army Blues
• The US Marine Band (The President's Own)
• The US Navy Band and the Navy Commodores
• The USAF Brass in Blue (Offutt AFB) with guest soloist
  Joseph Alessi (NY Philharmonic)
• The National Symphony Orchestra
• The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra 
• The Boston Pops
• The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jazz Orchestra and Wind Ensemble
• The University of North Texas Wind Ensemble
• The University of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab Band I directed by Gene Aitken
• The nationally recognized Hall High School Concert Jazz Band
(West Hartford, CT)

 As a conductor and clinician, Eric has worked in a broad array of settings ranging from live concerts of jazz, concert, and chamber music to professional recording sessions. He has led numerous ensembles in performances, recordings, rehearsals, and clinics. In March 2006, Eric was chosen as one of an international group of select composers to present and discuss an original work for jazz orchestra at the 1st International Jazz Composition Symposium held at the University of South Florida.

Eric’s work as a composer/arranger and trombonist 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. As a trombonist, he has performed with numerous ensembles to include: The US Army Jazz Ambassadors, The US Army Field Band, The Omaha Jazz Orchestra, The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, the Washington DC–based Klezmer group Lox & Vodka, and numerous commercial and variety bands. He has shared the stage with artists such as Bob Brookmeyer, Dave Liebman, Joe Morello, Jim Pugh, Ben Vereen, Jack Jones, and The Fifth Dimension. In 1999, Eric’s 25-minute retrospective of the music of Duke Ellington for symphony orchestra and big band, 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.

Dr. Richards is the Associate Professor of Composition and Jazz Studies at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) School of Music, situated in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. At UNL, Eric works alongside first-year through doctoral students in applied composition (classical and jazz/vernacular styles), teaches related courses (e.g., Orchestration and Jazz Arranging), and directs the award-winning UNL Jazz Orchestra. Prior to joining the faculty at Nebraska, Eric served on the faculty of Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska as Music Program Coordinator, Director of Instrumental Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Technology.

In 2004, he honorably retired from two decades of service as Composer/Arranger (Master Sergeant/E-8) with
The United States Army Field Band (the Army’s primary touring musical organization) 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 "Doc" Wilson and Joseph Wilcox Jenkins.

Eric’s music is published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company, Belwin Jazz Publications (Alfred), FJH Music, and the University of Northern Colorado’s UNC Jazz Press. He also self-publishes his works via
Eric Richards Music Services.

Eric resides in Saunders County, Nebraska with his wife Lanelle and sons Gabriel, Logan, Christian, and Josiah.

A regularly commissioned composer-arranger, Eric is available to answer inquiries regarding commissions. Please note that his production schedule develops as much as two years in advance. To inquire about commissions, please contact him via the Contact Page or

© Eric Richards 2012