Ramon Ricker has served as Senior Associate Dean for Professional Studies, Director of the Institute for Music Leadership, and Professor of Saxophone at Eastman. Dr. Ricker was instrumental in shaping Eastman’s innovative Institute for Music Leadership, whose Arts Leadership curriculum offers courses in entrepreneurship, careers, leadership, performance, contemporary orchestral issues, and musician’s injury prevention and rehabilitation.
Dr. Ricker received a bachelor of music education degree in clarinet from the University of Denver, a master of music degree in woodwind performance from Michigan State University, and a doctor of musical arts degree in music education and clarinet from Eastman. He became a full-time Eastman faculty member in 1973, served as the chair of the Department of Winds, Brass, and Percussion from 1989 to 1998, and retired in 2013. He joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in 1972; he continues to play in the orchestra, and from 1996 to 2005 he served on its board of directors. For eight summers, from 1993 to 2000, he directed the Eastman Philharmonia’s five-week residency at the Heidelberg Music Festival.
Dr. Ricker began his musical studies on the clarinet, and at age 16 began saxophone lessons and started performing a wide variety of music, classical and jazz, on both instruments. This is reflected in the diverse career paths of his students. Some are successful public school music teachers, while others comprise a diverse who’s who in the professional saxophone world: positions in Broadway pit orchestras and military bands, traveling road bands, small jazz groups, and pop and contemporary ensembles. His Eastman student jazz group Saxology won five Down Beat magazine awards.
Ramon Ricker’s books on jazz improvisation and saxophone technique, and many of his compositions, are standards in the field. His most recent book is Lessons From a Street-Wise Professor: What You Won’t Learn at Most Music Schools (2011).