Composer, Pianist, Washington, D.C., 1941
In addition to the piano, during the sixties and seventies, Richard played orchestral contrabass and toured the western states with the University of Utah concert band. Beginning in the sixties, he played bass with various rock, jazz, and Brazilian groups. He also played stints with the Larry Elgart , Sammy Kaye and Tex Beneke Big Bands. Richard also was active in the theatre ,writing music for various off-broadway plays and the venerable Stella "This is not a democracy!" Adler Theatre Workshop. During this same period, and through to the present, he recorded and toured with various Brazilian groups such as composer/Grammy nominee Thiago de Mello, Afro-Brazilian flutist/composer Lloyd McNeill, the late Latin flutist/composer Mauricio Smith, and the late renowned percussionist Dom um Romao.
Richard holds two degrees in composition from the Juilliard School. While there, he studied with American composers Stanley Wolfe, Vittorio Giannini, and the “dean” of American composer teachers, Vincent Persichetti. He received the Alexandre Gretchanninov Memorial Prize in Composition for his String Quartet and was also teaching assistant to the jazz arranger/educator Hall Overton (who arranged the famous Monk Carnegie Hall album) and the Italian composer Luciano Berio.
He began his professional teaching at the Juilliard School’s Extension Division, teaching Twentieth Century Music, Literature and Materials of Music, and Composer’s Workshop. He also became the Pre-College Division’s composition teacher for several years both there and at the Manhattan School of Music.
In more recent years, Richard has concentrated his performance work on piano, composing and performing concerts with his own ensemble, playing night club gigs, and accompanying and recording with various vocalists, most notably with the great jazz singer Vivian Lord. He’s also well known in New York for his thirty-three years as co-house pianist, along with Brazilian pianist Dom Salvador, under the Brooklyn Bridge at The River Café playing his unique arrangements of jazz standards and “The Great American Songbook.”
Richard has been active writing chamber music scores for documentary films, including the music for the late actor Richard Kiley’s last film appearance in “Grow Old Along With Me," produced and directed Anne Macksoud and John Ankele. In the past few years he also composed several other chamber music scores for documentaries highlighting current vital social issues, such as the U.S policy of supplying munitions to poor countries, programs for the elderly, and 3rd World Fair Trade issues.
In 1986 Richard entered the field of aviation as an avocation and became active conducting volunteer flights for the humanitarian organization AngelFlight and the environmental volunteer pilot group, LightHawk.
In 1991, Richard founded a non-profit organization, Amazônia project Inc., to provide annual volunteer dental/medical visits to selected villages and indigenous settlements along the Amazon River System in the state of Amazônas, Brazil.
In October 2004, he organized his colleagues in the Warwick area, composed extensive music for, and produced “Concert for the Survivors” to raise money for hurricane Katrina victims and also flew volunteers in his airplane to assist the recovery efforts in New Orleans.
Richard began a movement for the eventual establishment of a major center for the arts, to be entitled The Warwick Valley Center for the Arts. All of its programs would be centered around education. It would include resident performing ensembles and an institute of music, which Richard already founded in 2008, and was operating in evenings at Warwick Valley High School under the aegis of Community 2000. Plans for the center continue.
Richard lives with his wife, two sons, two dogs, a cat and a canary, in the hamlet of New Milford, town of Warwick, New York.