Marc Rossi’s ambitious genre-transcending career and inclusive compositions led Down Beat magazine to call him one of the dynamic few whose musical and cultural awareness travels exponentially in many different directions. A versatile contemporary classical composer, jazz composer and pianist, and educator, Rossi has been a vital part of the rich Boston music scene since the early 1980’s. He is a 20-year veteran of the jazz and contemporary classical worlds, a longtime student of both Hindustani and Carnatic Indian music and full-time Associate Professor of Piano and Jazz Composition at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
After receiving both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Composition from New England Conservatory (NEC), Rossi continued his education through private studies with Frank Bennett (composition and orchestration), William Thomas McKinley (composition), Charlie Banacos (jazz improvisation), Peter Row (North Indian Music and sitar), and Ben Schwendener (Lydian Chromatic Concept).
As an educator, Rossi has held a full-time position at Berklee since 1989, following teaching stints at both NEC and Tufts University. He has delivered guest lectures and jazz master classes at the Venice Ethnomusicology and the Emerging World Music Market conference, UCLA, the Universita della Musica in Rome, and other institutions and conducted NEC student ensembles at the request of MacArthur “Genius” Award-winning jazz legends, Ran Blake and George Russell.
Since 1981, Rossi has led his own jazz fusion ensemble The Marc Rossi Group, which released its first recording We Must Continue (MMC Recordings) in 1996. Prominent LA Jazz Scene reviewer Scott Yanow wrote, “the chance taking explorations have plenty of exciting moments,” and his eight originals complex, [but] always contain some catchy melodies. Rossi co-led the raga-jazz exploring Row and Rossi Project with sitarist and NEC Provost Peter Row from 1995-99, and marks the 10th anniversary of his duo with pianist Ben Schwendener in 2003. AllAboutJazz Modern Jazz Editor Glenn Astarita chose the Schwendener/Rossi Duo’s debut, Living Geometry (Gravity Records), as his Pick of the Month for September 2002.
Rossi has also served as a sideman, composing, performing and recording extensively with a variety of other jazz groups including Stan Strickland and Ascension, the Jimmy Guiffre 4, Natraj, The Robert Moore Quartet, and George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra, appearing on the latter’s landmark Blue Note releases, The African Game and So What.
Rossi’s concurrent composing career includes premieres in legendary venues like Boston’s Symphony Hall and Dvorak Hall in Prague. His pieces have been performed and premiered by renowned musicians like The Czech Radio Symphony of Prague, the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, pianist Jeffrey Jacob, cellist Raphael Popper-Keizer, the Arden String Quartet, Indian classical guitarist Prasanna, cellist Xin-Hua Ma, pianists Cameron and William Merrill, violinist Sharan Leventhal, jazz historian/pianist Lewis Porter, and the Berklee Faculty Jazz Orchestra.
Called “intensely expressive and consistently compelling” by Jacob, and “lushly orchestrated and lyrically pensive” by Fanfare, Rossi’s music has been commissioned by the studio of legendary sculptor Reuben Nakian among others. He is also a member of the Boston-based group Just in Time Composers & Players, which has premiered a number of original compositions. Five recordings feature his works including MMC New Century Volume VI (MMC, 1996), Jeffrey Jacob’s Contemporary American Eclectic Music for the Piano Volumes II and VI, (New Ariel, 1996 and 2003), Just In Time Composers and Players’ In Concert (2002), and A View From Charles Bridge, (MMC, 2003).