Justin DiCioccio is internationally recognized as one of the foremost jazz educators of our time. In January 2001, he was inducted into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame. His keen insight into teaching and his inventive approach have earned him the title “the musician’s teacher.”
In 2002, Mr. DiCioccio was named Assistant Dean/ Chair, Jazz Arts Program of Manhattan School of Music; in 2011 he was named Associate Dean. Under his leadership, the jazz curriculum has been completely restructured, including the creation of a new jazz DMA program. He has put into action his concept of the complete artist-musician—performer, composer, and pedagogue—by developing partnerships with public schools, community organizations, cultural institutions, and the music industry.
He initiated the addition of a jazz component to the Precollege Division, making Manhattan School of Music one of the few institutions in the country to offer jazz programs at all levels. Mr. DiCioccio also directs international jazz programs, in partnership with Manhattan School of Music.
Intellectual property attorney with Baker Hostetler, New York.
Born and raised in Lebanon, Hanna’s middle-eastern musical roots accent virtually all of his musical compositions. As a young immigrant, Hanna lived more than half of his life in the west, including Paris, LA, San Francisco, Montreal and New York. While his original musical training focused on classical and Flamenco guitar, he is most passionate about combining Flamenco guitar sounds with western and eastern musical genres (a practice frowned upon by Flamenco purists) to create a unique fusion of sounds.
While Hanna’s music is by design difficult to classify, it is best described as “World-Beat Fusion,” because it is a uniquely elegant marriage of many musical genres, including Flamenco, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Techno, Dance, Classical, Middle-Eastern, etc.
Mirroring his life, Hanna’s music stems from a globalized and multicultural perspective. It is a musical expression at the intersection of all musical genres and cultures. As a firm believer in music as an international language of peace, Hanna is committed to promoting World-Beat fusion as a means of fostering cross-cultural harmony.
AJV Artistic Director
Rich DeRosa has arranged and conducted music for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to feature Toots Thielemans, Annie Ross, and Abbey Lincoln among other notable artists. His arrangements for the Wynton Marsalis quintet feature Willie Nelson and Norah Jones on the Blue Note record label. Other commissioned arrangements have been performed by the New York Pops, the Cleveland and Houston Orchestras, Portland Symphony (Maine), the Swedish Radio and Television Orchestra, and the Metropole Orchestra in Holland. He has created arrangements for rising trumpet star Dominick Farinacci on his CD Lovers, Tales, and Dances and acclaimed solo violinist Anne Akiko Meyers on her CD Seasons…Dreams. Earlier endeavors include many recorded arrangements for vocalist Susannah McCorkle (Concord Records) and for the Mel Lewis (Atlantic Records), Gerry Mulligan (DRG) and Glenn Miller bands (Heiss).
He currently holds a tenured position as the director of jazz composition and arranging at the University of North Texas. Former faculty positions include William Paterson University, the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School.
Rich was recently named Chief Conductor of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany and will host several exciting programs this spring. Visit: www.WDR.de for details.
AJV Board of Directors
Erin Dickins (Geyelin)
As an award winning jazz vocalist and founding member of The Manhattan Transfer, Erin Dickins has enjoyed a remarkable career on stage and in the recording studio. After spending five years singing ensemble music with The Manhattan Transfer, she continued to expand her musical horizons, emerging as one of the top studio singers in New York. Dickins performed, toured and recorded with many notable artists including Leonard Cohen, Bette Midler, James Taylor, The Talking Heads, James Brown, Barry Manilow, Jaco Pastorius and Ashford & Simpson, to name but a few.
In 2014, Erin will release a debut solo album on Dot Time Records entitled, Java Jive. Dickins returns to her roots with a remake of the original Ink Spots’ hit, and will feature backing vocals by longtime friends Tim Hauser, Marty Nelson and Gene Pistilli - the three male vocalists from the original Manhattan Transfer.
Ms. Dickins was awarded the prestigious Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in 2012. She was the recipient of the “Best Jazz Vocalist” honor, awarded in 2012 by CoffeeTalk Jazz Radio in Los Angeles. She continues to mentor students at "SummerFame," a program she founded in 2000 in Easton, Maryland to provide performing arts programs for children of all ages.
Willard Jenkins is an independent arts consultant & producer, and writer under his Open Sky banner. Willard Jenkins’ current activity includes concert, festival, and concert series planning/development, artistic direction, consulting, music journalism, teaching, and broadcast work.
Arts Administrator From March 1989-November 1994, Jenkins was executive director of the National Jazz Service Organization (NJSO) in Washington, DC. During his NJSO tenure Jenkins directed every NJSO operation, including technical assistance & re-granting programs, publication services, and supervised a professional staff. In 1990 Jenkins was an architect of the pioneering Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest National Jazz Network (receiving an unprecedented – for jazz — initial funding allocation of $3.4M), a network of presenting organizations and regional arts organizations.
Willard Jenkins is a successful fundraiser, securing or assisting in grant allocations from numerous public and private sources. These have included: the National Endowment for the Arts; numerous local, state, and regional arts agencies; Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund; Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; AT&T Foundation; Ford Foundation; Pew Charitable Trusts; Jim Beam Brands; Cleveland Foundation; Gund Foundation; Kulas Foundation, etc.
A pioneering editor and historian of American orchestral and jazz ensemble music, Jeffrey Sultanof was born in Queens, NY. As a teenager, he studied the clarinet with Augustin Duques, solo clarinetist with the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini, and composition with Lothar Perl. He attended the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts for the first three years of its existence, and studied with William Dwyer (band) and Andrew Householder (choir).
He graduated from Queens College (CUNY) and his principal teachers were Carlos Surinach and Roger Nierenberg (conducting) and John Carisi (composition and arranging). But his most important teacher/student relationship was with arranger/conductor Jerry Graff. Over a thirty-five year period, Sultanof transitioned from eager student to trusted colleague and family member, orchestrating some of his last arrangements and producing his last recordings.
Sultanof was an editor/arranger with Warner Brothers Publications for over seventeen years, where he found another mentor/teacher in chief editor/arranger/composer Anthony Esposito. Sultanof worked directly with John Williams, Joe Raposo, Burt Bacharach and many other composers to prepare their music for print. He edited and annotated four Gershwin scores issued in facsimile editions, and edited Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Nelson Riddles textbook on arranging. He also corrected hundreds of piano/vocal arrangements of Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers & Hart, and many other legendary composers of the Great American Songbook, as well as arranging many of them for various instrumental and vocal combinations.
C. Michael Richardson
C. Michael Richardson, trombonist and educator, has played trombone and bass trombone throughout the New York metropolitan area as well as traveled and played throughout the USA, Canada and Europe. He has been associated with Clem DeRosa since 1964 - as a high school freshman - and maintained a relationship with Clem until his death until 2011.
He has been associated with American Jazz Venues as a conductor/clinician since 2012 and on its board since 2013. Among the diverse group of artists with whom Mike has played include Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Wayne Newton, The O’Jays, The New Reperatory Ensemble of New York, The Merrick Symphony, The Clem DeRosa Orchestra and the New Jersey Philharmonic, to name but a few.
He has served on faculty at CUNY at Queens College and CW Post College, where he directed the Jazz Ensemble from 1980 to 1989. He also teaches clinics and adjudicates jazz festivals.
Mr. Richardson has a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and Education from Queens College and a Masters in Music Performance from the Juilliard School. He credits the DeRosa Method for enhancing his long-term understanding and enjoyment of music.
Mike lives in Northport on Long Island with his wife Ellen Richardson who is also a musician and music educator.
Robert W. Carretta
Robert W. Carretta is CEO and President of R. W. Carretta & Associates, a healthcare and business consulting firm providing support services to hospitals and healthcare organizations throughout the country. Mr. Carretta was previously Senior Vice President for the Saint Barnabas Health Care System (SBHCS), now Barnabas Health, and Executive Director of Livingston Services Corporation, a for profit entity of SBHCS.
Mr. Carretta started his career in 1964 in Corporate Administration at Grumman Aerospace, New York. After serving in the United States Navy for three years he started his career in healthcare in 1971 as Director of Materials Management at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City. In 1978 he moved to Staten Island Hospital as Director of Materials Management before joining the American Business Group in 1980 as Vice President of Operations.
In 1982, Mr. Carretta started his own Graphics Management Company in New York and sold it to a New York Graphics firm in 1985. Returning to Staten Island in 1985, Mr. Carretta joined University Hospital of Staten Island as Vice President of Ocean View Management their for profit entity.