Frank La Rocca (b. 1951, New Jersey) was educated at Yale (B.A. 1973, cum laude) and the University of California at Berkeley (M.A. 1976, Ph.D 1981 in music). His early experiences in music ranged from the study of classical piano to playing electric keyboards in a variety of rock and blues bands. He began composing at age fourteen and first undertook formal studies in composition and theory while at Yale. His teachers include Edwin Dugger, Andrew Imbrie, Olly Wilson, Jonathan Kramer, Frank Lewin, and John Mauceri.
La Rocca is the winner of the 2010 Vanguard Premieres International Choral Composition Award and winner of Second Prize in the 2010 International Sacred Arts Composer Competition, as well as the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Composer Fellowship, a California State Artist Fellowship, ASCAP Young Composer's Award, Special Commendations in the ASCAP/Nissim Orchestral Competition and Amherst Choral Competition, and honorable mentions in the 2005 Meistersingers and Vanguard Voices competitions. He is a featured composer in the registry of the Foundation for Sacred Arts and has been recognized on three occasions for Outstanding Merit as a Professor of Music at California State University, East Bay.
Notable recent performances include Echo at the Seventh World Symposium on Choral Music in Kyoto, Japan, by the San Francisco Girls Chorus; Expectavi Dominum at the Chorus America 2011 National Conference by Artist’s Vocal Ensemble (AVE); In This Place at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and 2011 International Clarinet Association conference, and O Magnum Mysterium by the Grammy award-winning Cathedral Choral Society at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Overseas premieres of O Magnum Mysterium and Magnificat in the UK, Exaudi in Brazil, Miserere in Portugal, Sicut Cervus in France, O Nata Lux in Germany, and Cantate Domino in Prague have all recently been heard.
La Rocca's music has been recorded by AVE, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Vanguard Voices, Prague Radio Orchestra and Chorus, the Alexander String Quartet, and cellist Lawrence Granger and the trio Strata, among others. He is published by Boosey&Hawkes, Walton Music, and Santa Barbara Music Publishers.
A founding member, past Executive Director, and current Artistic Director of COMPOSERS, INC., La Rocca teaches at California State University, East Bay, where he is Emeritus Professor of Music.