department of music

Fine Arts Center, Suite E, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

music@uri.edu401.874.2431 or 401.874.5955

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Ron Sanfilippo

  • Artist/Teacher in Jazz Piano
  • Department of Music
  • Phone: 401.874.2431
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Department of Music
    Fine Arts Center
    105 Upper College Road
    Kingston, RI 02881


RON SANFILIPPO has been an active performer and educator in the New England area for over 40 years. Ron began his musical career playing guitar and trumpet throughout high school. He was playing in nightclubs at 16 years of age sharing the stage with recording artists The Cowsills. After high school he studied music education at the University of Rhode Island and eventually transferred to Berklee School of music where he began to study piano. After two semesters, financial hardship forced him to drop out of school. During the next 15 years Ron studied jazz piano privately with such renowned teachers as Harvey Diamond, Charlie Binacos, Dean Earl, Hal Crook, Donald Brown, and Kenny Werner. He then returned to Berklee College of Music where he was named to the National Dean’s List and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging.

Ron fulfilled his teaching requirements from the University of RI and taught for eight years in the Portsmouth Middle School in Rhode Island where he directed bands from grades 5-8, taught general music, and collaborated with department colleagues to completely redesign curriculum to expand and modernize the music program. In 1997 he joined the faculty of Brown University and The Rhode Island Philharmonic/Music School, and in 2015 the University of Rhode Island where he teaches jazz piano and directs jazz ensembles to this day.

Ron has performed as a solo artist and in small groups in mansions, hotels, nightclubs, and private venues throughout New England. Some performance highlights were musical director of Craft Expression Theatre of Newport RI, musical director of Waves Cabaret Middletown RI, solo piano concert at the Casino Roger Williams Park for the Furniture Clothing Banks of Rhode Island, the Newport Jazz Festival, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, toured Manchester England with the Big Nazo’s, a concert of all original music for the Rhode Island Council for the Arts with world renowned drummer Alan Dawson, a Live broadcast on WGBH hosted by Ron Del Chiesa with Greg Abate’s fusion group Channel One, and a two hour concert of all original music with a ten piece band featuring Greg Abate, Curt Ramm, Bruce Abbott at the Viking Hotel in Newport , RI.. He has performed with such famous artists as George Benson, Greg Abate, Ed Tomassi, Dan Moretti, Hal Crook, Dick Johnson, Curt Ramm, Dave Zinno, Greg Hopkins Todd Baker, Jim Robitaille, Bruce Abbott, and others.

Ron is also a well respected jazz educator. He has taught in the jazz department at Brown University and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School for over 14 years. His method of teaching is very structured and Progressive covering all the elements necessary in understanding and performing this music, focusing on keyboard harmony, voice leading, chord scales, bop patterns, and improvisation. He makes it a point to understand each student’s learning curve and adjusts the pace of the material to be learned each week accordingly. Ron has also helped many students who wish to compose by incorporating composition techniques into their lesson plans, which he feels helps them understand the lesson material even better.

Recording Highlights Received critical acclaim as a solo artist and arranger for “Now and Then”, (North Star Records NS0050) Arranged musical scores and appeared as guest keyboard artist on Bruce Foulke’s “Evening Tide” and “Savannah” recordings (North Star Records) Arranged musical scores and performed as featured guest pianist for “Holiday Reflections” — a custom project for The Nature Company (North Star Records)


Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition and Arranging, Berklee College of Music

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