Early Life and Training
DeRosa was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 5, 1920. His family moved to Chicago about a year after his birth. His father, John DeRosa, was a professional clarinetist; his mother, Clelia DeRubertis DeRosa, was an accomplished singer. He began his horn studies at age ten with Peter Dilecce, third horn of the Chicago Civic Opera orchestra. In 1932 the family moved to Los Angeles. While still a teenager, DeRosa studied briefly with his uncle, Vincent DeRubertis, and played for Alfred Brain, Dennis Brain's uncle, several times.
Career as a Player
DeRosa began his professional career in 1935, after the death of his father, by substituting for another player in the San Carlo Opera Company's production of La traviata. He continued to perform until 2008.
When the U.S. entered World War II, DeRosa enlisted before he could be drafted, and was assigned to play with the California Army Air Corps radio production unit. He was discharged in 1943 because he was the head of a household. However, eventually he was recalled to service, and was finally demobilized in 1945.
Because he had a career of over 70 years, during which he played on many film soundtracks, recordings, and television programs, he is probably the most recorded brass player of all time. He played on recordings by Julie Andrews, The Beatles, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Jascha Heifetz, and Frank Sinatra, among others. The films and musicals for which he played include The Magnificent Seven, How the West Was Won, The Days of Wine and Roses, Jaws, Rocky, Midway, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Oklahoma, Carousel, The Music Man, Mary Poppins, Edward Scissorhands, My Fair Lady, and The Sound of Music. The television programs for which he played include Batman, Bonanza, Dallas, Hawaii Five-O, Peter Gunn, The Rockford Files, The Simpsons, and Star Trek. He was the first horn for such greats as Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman, Lalo Schifrin, and John Williams. Among his credits outside the Hollywood studios, he was a member of the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra, which recorded Frank Zappa's first solo album, Lumpy Gravy.
Beginning in the late 1950s, DeRosa played a Conn 8D horn, creating a sound composers favored and establishing what has become known as the L.A. horn sound. James Decker, another famous studio horn player, recalled that DeRosa hardly made mistakes during recording sessions but thinks what really made DeRosa successful was his colorful and variable sound. DeRosa's impact on the business brought along with it a new standard for studio horn parts.
At DeRosa's retirement concert/celebration, composer John Williams wrote:
"Vince Derosa's contribution to American music can't be overstated. He was the premier first horn player on virtually every recording to come out of Hollywood for over forty years. He represented the pinnacle of instrumental performance and I can honestly say that what I know about writing for the French horn, I learned from him. DeRosa was an inspiration for at least two generations of composers working in Hollywood and beyond. He is respected world-wide and universally regarded as one of the greatest instrumentalists of his generation. It has been a privilege to have worked with him all these many years."
Since retiring in 2008, DeRosa splits his time between his residences in La Canada, CA, Maui, and Montana.
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With Johnny Mandel
- I Want to Live (United Artists, 1958)
With Oliver Nelson
- Skull Session (Flying Dutchman, 1975)
With Lalo Schifrin
- Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts (RCA Victor, 1965) with Paul Horn
- Music from Mission: Impossible (Dot, 1967)
- The Fox (soundtrack) (Warner Bros., 1968)
- There's a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin' On (Dot, 1968)
- Kelly's Heroes (soundtrack) (MGM, 1970)
- Enter the Dragon (soundtrack) (Warner Bros., 1973)
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 1
- Vincent DeRosa biography at the International Horn Society home page
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 3
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 2-3
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 4-5
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 11
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 15
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 18
- United Mutations Internet site entry for Vincent DeRosa, accessed June 22, 2010
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 21
- Miller, Todd (2009). Carved in Stone, p. 5