DICK HYMAN (Music Arranger and Conductor) - Throughout a busy musical career which got underway in the early 1950s, Dick Hyman has functioned as pianist, organist, arranger, conductor, and composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over one hundred albums recorded under his own name and many more in support of other artists. While developing a masterful facility for improvisation in his own piano style, Mr. Hyman has investigated the earliest periods of jazz and ragtime and has researched and recorded the music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey, Eubie Blake, Fats Waller and other early figures. He includes this historical material in his frequent solo recitals. Other solo recordings include the music of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. New recordings with orchestra are known as "From the Age of Swing," "Swing Is Here," and "Cheek to Cheek," while his early explorations on the Moog synthesizer have been reissued.
Mr. Hymans concert compositions include his "Piano Concerto," "Ragtime Fantasy," and "Sonata for Violin and Piano" and the recent "Three Raps for Piano" and "The Longest Blues in the World." In his numerous public appearances he has performed solo, with orchestra, with his own quintet, with cometist Ruby Braff, an din duo-piano appearances with George Shearing, Derek Smith, Roger Kellaway, Ralph Sutton and the late Dick Wellstood. Since 1985 he has acted as artistic director of the acclaimed "Jazz in July" series of the concerts at New Yorks 92nd Street Y and currently serves as Jazz Advisor of the Oregon Festival of American Music. He frequently appears in the United States and aboard as a soloist. In 1995, Mr. Hyman was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies and the New Jersey Jazz Society, and in 1996 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Wilkes University. Recent concerts have included Three-Piano Crossover with Ruth Laredo and Marian McPartland; and performances with Doc Severinsen and the Minnesota, Phoenix, Buffalo and Milwaukee Orchestras.
In addition to his activities in the jazz and concert worlds, Mr. Hyman has had a prolific career in New York as a studio musician and has won seven Most Valuable Player Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He acted as music director for such television programs as Benny Goodmans final appearance and for In Performance at the White House. He received an Emmy for his original score for "Sunshines on the Way," a daytime drama, and another for musical direction of a PBS special on Eubie Blake. Other services for PBS include original scores for the six "Tales From the Hollywood Hills" and "Ask Me Again," as well as conducting and orchestrating "Bubbe Meises." He has been a guest performer on Garrison Keillors radio broadcasts, and is frequently heard with Jim Cullums Jazz Band on "Live from Riverwalk." Mr. Hymans arrangements are heard in the recent Barry Manilow CD, "Singin With the Big Bands," and in older recordings by Tony Bennett and others.
In past years, Dick Hyman was music director for Arthur Godfrey and orchestrator of the hit musical "Sugar Babies." He has served as composer/arranger/conductor/pianist for the Woody Allen films "Zelig," "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Broadway Danny Rose," "Stardust Memories," "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Radio Days," "Bullets Over Broadway," "Mighty Aphrodite," "Everyone Says I Love You," and now "Sweet and Lowdown." Other film scores have included "Moonstruck," "Scott Joplin King of Ragtime," "The Lemon Sisters," and "Alan and Naomi." His period arrangements were heard in "Billy Bathgate."
In the dance field, Mr. Hyman composed and performed the score for the Cleveland Ballets Piano Man, for Ivory Strides for Ballet Jazz de Montreal, and for Twyla Tharps The Bums Rush for the American Ballet Theatre. He has arranged and performed piano music for Miles Davis/Porgy and Bess, a choreographed production of The Black Dance Theatre of Dallas, now on tour.