Rick Culver first picked up the trombone at age 10, and by age 12 was already perform¨ing in a local, professional Dixieland jazz band. His formal musical education came from completing the requirements for a bachelor and master’s degree in performance from The Juilliard School in New York and a second master’s degree in theory and composi¨tion from Michigan State University. Culver spent three years in the Army Field Band as a founding member of their prestigious Studio Jazz Band (now known as the Jazz Ambassadors). His practical musical experiences continued to accumulate during the years he spent on the road with big bands, some of them in the last years of their traveling heyday (the late 60s and early 70s). Larry Elgart, Glenn Miller, under Buddy OeFranco, Billy Max+ed, Woody Herman, and the Buddy Rich big bands all included him as a member during that period.
After settling in LA as a free-lance musician, he spent 18 years performing, recording, teaching, and writing jazz and classical music. He was a long-time member of and made recordings with several of the top jazz bands in LA., including Bill Holman, Bob Florence, Lew Tabackin/Toshiko Akiyoshi, Gordon Brisker, Kirn Richmond, and &ave Pell. He performed in bands backing countless artists: everyone from Elvis Presley to Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald..
Under his formal name, Eric C. Culver, he has a long list of classical compositions for Brass; solo bass trombone, trombone trio and quartet, plus a set of four books of chorales for trombone quartet; five brass quintet compositions, as well as double quintet and larger brass ensemble combinations. Commissions: Moonrise in Time – Then Into Morning. For Ten Brass. Commission for the M.I.T. Brass Ensemble, Boston, Massachusetts. Plus-One Productions. Exultations From A Summer Place: For Organ & Brass Quintet. A Commission from the Los Angeles Emmanuel Presbyterian
Church for their Centennial Celebration on 9/18/88. Plus-One Productions. Fanfare and Solos for Brass Quintet. Commissioned by the Composers Brass Quintet of Los Angeles to open their school concerts. Plus-One Productions. Dances from a Hillside Manor. For Trombone Quartet. Commissioned by Yamaha Corporation for 1986 Interna¨tional Trombone Association Convention. Barnhouse Publishers. 20 trombone etudes. For tenor trombone, and Unaccompanied Suite for Bass Trombone.
Other works: Trio for Times in Sequence. For two oboes and bassoon. Boundary
Water Suite. For Clarinet, Violin and Bassoon. Woodwind Quintet No. 1. 19 minute avant garde composition for standard woodwind quintet. 50 piano etudes for all ages. In 2002 he was commissioned to compose music for two librettists, Ruth Margraff and Erik Ehn (several other composers and librettists are involved in the project) for a Culver
Bio – Page 2
Opera called Imaginary Lands and Dances. This opera is scheduled to premier Los Angeles in the fall of 2005.
Since moving to Michigan, Culver has concentrated on all forms of music, whether it be performance and composition for classical music, or performing in and writing for small-group jazz ensembles and jazz bands, giving private lessons, coaching jazz bands and combos, teaching at summer jazz big band and combo camps, and doing clinics and performances for schools and colleges in the midwest.
His Jazz trio CD is called Painted Scarves. It was nominated in the Entry List (first round category) for a Grammy award under Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group in 2000. The CD contains eleven arrangements of standard tunes, plus two originals. He wrote the music for a CD and the text for a trombone masterclass article in the April/May 2001 issue of Jazz Player Magazine called Habits for the Horn and jazz improvisation.
In 2002 he was guest artist and clinician at Saginaw State University led by Jeff Hall, and in March of 2003 was with the Cheboygan Junior and Senior High School big bands led by Andrew Dunham, at the Victorian Theater in the famous Opera House in downtown Cheboygan, Michigan. 2004 marks his fourth season as a faculty member for the two-week summer jazz camp at the Birch Creek Performance Center in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. In December of 2004, Culver was invited by the Instructor of Jazz Studies, Jack Cooper, and lower brass instructor, John Mueller, to come to Memphis State University and perform as guest artist with Cooper’s jazz band and to conduct a clinic and master class for Mueller’s trombone students.