Dick Hyman first appeared as guest artist of The Shedd Institute in 1993 as a part of The Shedd's flagship summer festival, Oregon Festival of American Music, and served as the Jazz Advisor of that festival from 1998 to 2006. In that capacity he created as many as 12 concerts each summer, featuring jazz, historic popular and classical music, and was foundational in the development of the OFAM style. In August 2007 he hands his Jazz Advisor baton over to Ken Peplowski, long time Hyman associate and Shedd Institute favorite.
Throughout a busy musical career that got underway in the early '50s, Dick Hyman has functioned as pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and, increasingly, as composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 100 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, Hyman has also investigated ragtime and the earliest periods of jazz and has researched and recorded the piano music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey, Eubie Blake and Fats Waller which he often features in his frequent recitals. Other solo recordings include the music of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. Some of his recordings with combos are From The Age Of Swing, Swing Is Here, Cheek To Cheek, and If Bix Played Gershwin, plus several duet albums with the cornetist, Ruby Braff. In a different vein, his early explorations on the Moog synthesizer have now been reissued.
Hyman's concert compositions for orchestra include his Piano Concerto, Ragtime Fantasy, The Longest Blues in the World, and From Chama to Cumbres by Steam, a work for orchestra, jazz combo, and prerecorded railroad sounds. A cantata based on the autobiography of Mark Twain was premiered in 2004. Among his recent chamber music compositions are Quintet for Piano and Strings, performed first by Ruth Laredo and the Shanghai Quartet and more recently by Hyman himself and Musicante; and Sextet for Piano and Strings which Hyman performed as a premiere in Sarasota with members of La Musica. Hyman has often been heard in duo-piano performances with Derek Smith, in Three-Piano Crossover with Marian McPartland and Ruth Laredo, and in various pops concerts under the direction of Doc Severinsen.
In 2004, after serving as artistic director for the acclaimed Jazz in July series at New York's 92nd Street Y for twenty years, he stepped down but continues his Jazz Piano at the Y series as well as his post as Jazz Advisor to Oregon Festival of American Music. In 1995 Hyman was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies and the New Jersey Jazz Society. Since then he has received honorary doctorates from Wilkes University, Five Towns College, Hamilton College and the University of South Florida.
In addition to his activities in the jazz and concert worlds, Hyman has had a prolific career in New York as a studio musician and 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 Goodman's final appearance (on PBS) and for In Performance at the White House. He received an Emmy for his original score for Sunshine's on the Way, a daytime drama, and another for musical direction of a PBS Special on Eubie Blake. He continues to be a frequent guest performer with Jim Cullum's Jazz Band on Live From Riverwalk, and has been heard on Terry Gross' Fresh Air.
Other services for PBS include original scores for the six Tales From the Hollywood Hills and for Ask Me Again, as well as conducting and orchestrating the more recent program, Bubbe Meises. He has been a guest performer on Garrison Keillor's radio broadcasts, and is frequently heard with Jim Cullum's Jazz Band on Live From Riverwalk. Other recent public radio broadcasts have been for Terry Gross' Fresh Air featuring the music of Will Marion Cook and Eubie Blake.
In years past, 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", Sweet and Lowdown, and The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion. Other scores have included Moonstruck, Scott Joplin-King of Ragtime, The Lemon Sisters, and Alan and Naomi. Various recordings of his have been included in The Mask, Two Weeks Notice, and other films and his period arrangements were heard in Billy Bathgate.
In the dance field, Hyman composed and performed the score for the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet Company's Piano Man, and Twyla Tharp's The Bum's Rush for the American Ballet Theater. He was the pianist/conductor/arranger in Tharp's Eight Jelly Rolls, Baker's Dozen, and The Bix Pieces and similarly arranged and performed for Miles Davis: Porgy and Bess, a choreographed production of The Dance Theater of Dallas. In 2007 his Adventures of Tom Sawyer, commissioned by The Shedd Institute and set by Toni Pimble of Eugene Ballet was premiered.
Dick Hyman's 100 Years Of Jazz Piano, an encyclopedic CD-ROM, is based on his frequent recital-lecture. New recordings include Berlin Lieder, with Marilyn Horne and Robert White, duo-piano albums with Derek Smith, Ralph Sutton, Ray Kennedy,Bernd Lhotsky, Louis Mazetier, and a forthcoming trumpet/piano duet with Randy Sandke.