Rocco Dapice

Rocco Dapice's Biography

Rocco Dapice is a pianist, teacher, writer, and recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Music (M.M., Jazz Arts). He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School’s summer program (MSM Summer) and New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math & Science; is a teaching artist for MSM’s Distance Learning center; and teaches privately. Rocco has performed in over 375 cities, communicating in word and song in 45 of the 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

After relaunching into the wide world of jazz, Rocco studied privately with GRAMMY-winning pianist and composer Taylor Eigsti; with vibraphonist and percussionist Mark Sherman; at The Juilliard School for six semesters with pianists Reuben Allen and Dave Meder; and at the Manhattan School with jazz master, Phil Markowitz.

In recent years Rocco has recorded numerous backing tracks for vocalists; served as keyboardist on worship teams; performed "Peanuts Christmas" shows at Westchester County libraries; taught multiple times on the topic of jazz history at the Greenburgh Library; played keyboards in a Billy Joel tribute band; and played background roles in a few blockbuster movies.

While a student at the Crane School of Music, Disney Entertainment selected Rocco to spend the summer performing daily in front of the iconic castle with the All-American College Show Band. The eight-piece ensemble also worked weekly with guest musicians Bob Mintzer, Jim Snidero, Matt Harris, Jiggs Whigham, and Allen Vizzutti, among others; and attended exclusive Epcot master classes led by Billy Taylor, Diane Schuur, Mercer Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, Rosemary Clooney, and others.

Rocco’s musical beginnings were rooted in Upstate New York with piano lessons that started at the age of 7 with Frank Damiano. Then in the 4th grade, local band leader and schoolteacher, Don Cantwell, started him on the alto saxophone with bebop tunes and big band music.

Years later at the Crane School, Rocco studied classical piano with Ronald Tarr during his first year, then with Frank Iogha for three. (Iogha was a 1950s Juilliard grad from the studio of Rosina Lhévinne.) With inspiration and mentoring by jazz director, Bret Zvacek, Rocco began to pursue jazz on the keyboard. After a few private lessons with Upstate jazz pianist, Rick Montalbano Sr., a lesson with tenor sax icon J.R. Monterose, and in the wake of the Disney experience, Iogha sat Rocco down during his senior year and suggested he fully shift his focus to jazz.

Upon graduation Rocco was accepted to the Eastman School of Music graduate program for jazz studies; instead, he earned a master’s degree in theology from a Midwestern seminary. Then for a decade Rocco taught music and theology on the college level, built and directed a church orchestra of over 40 members, and taught private piano and sax students of all ages.

Rocco has been interviewed for The New York Times, US News & World Report, WPIX-TV, The Journal News (Gannett), The Daily Greenburgh, and "The Greenburgh Report" radio show (WVOX). His writing has been published by Westchester Magazine, Christianity Today's Leadership Journal, Outreach Magazine, and other periodicals. Rocco is a member of ASCAP, the Jazz Education Network (JEN), and the National Assn. of Record Industry Professionals.

In a spare moment, he may be listening to tracks by Miles, Rush, Yellowjackets, Chaka Khan, Murray Perahia, Herbie, Weather Report, Chick, Keith, Genesis, U2, or hopefully making headway in a book…

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Rocco Dapice