Ted Rosenthal is one of the leading jazz pianists of his generation. The first-prize winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 1988, Ted has gone on to perform worldwide, both as a leader and as a sideman with many jazz greats, including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer, and Jon Faddis. Ted also has released eleven CDs as a leader, which include new treatments and "derangements" of great American standards, jazz tunes and classical themes, as well as his original compositions. Ted’s ability to communicate both the creative and analytical aspects of jazz translates from the bandstand to the educational arena: he holds faculty appointments at The Juilliard School, and Manhattan School of Music, and has also taught at Queens College, and The New School University.
Ted was born and raised in Great Neck, Long Island, a suburb of New York City. He began playing by ear at a young age, and started studying at 12 with Tony Aless, a sideman with Charlie Parker and Stan Getz. In high school, Ted studied briefly with Jaki Byard and Lennie Tristano, and he attended workshops with Billy Taylor, Woody Shaw and others.
Although jazz was Ted’s main passion, at the time there were limited opportunities to study jazz at the conservatory level. Since he also found satisfaction and joy in classical music, Ted decided to pursue classical piano studies at Manhattan School of Music. He received Bachelors and Masters Degrees in piano performance while continuing to pursue his love of jazz outside the classroom. After college, he continued his classical piano studies with Phillip Kawin while playing jazz in and around New York.
Winning the Monk Competition in 1988 launched Ted’s career as a solo artist, leading to the release of his first CD as a leader. New Tunes, New Traditions, featuring now-legendary personnel Ron Carter, Billy Higgins and Tom Harrell, interweaves music of Thelonious Monk with Ted’s original compositions.
Ted toured in the early 1990s with the last Gerry Mulligan Quartet. He recorded three CDs with Mulligan and performed in major jazz festivals throughout the world. One critic noted, “The rapport of the (Mulligan) group was amazing, particularly Gerry’s telepathic communication with outstanding pianist Ted Rosenthal.... The byplay with Rosenthal left me with my jaw hanging down.” (Gene Lees, The Jazz Letter.) After Mulligan's death, Ted became musical director of The Gerry Mulligan All Star Tribute Band, featuring Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer and Randy Brecker. The group’s CD, Thank You, Gerry!, was nominated for a Grammy award in 1998.