ROB RICHARDS' arrangement of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has been an audience favorite for over two decades. His instrumental performance augments one of the world's largest Wurlitzer pipe organs with three synthesizers and two drum machines, synched by MIDI and computers..He transcribed the original orchestration as closely as possible, notating horns, strings, harpsichord, drum lines, and even included digital vocal sounds. Rob's PHANTOM track was re-worked and refined over a five year period, easily making it the most sophisticated arrangement of its type in his career and repertoire.
ROB RICHARDS is recognized internationally for his long tenure as the House Organist at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California. Since 1999, he has performed an astonishing six thousand performances at the historic movie palace, playing the legendary “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ originally installed in San Francisco’s Fox Theatre. Rob has performed for a “who’s who” of Hollywood celebrities, and shared the stage at events with Julie Andrews, Elton John, and Tom Hanks! Film and television appearances include “The Souls of Los Angeles” (profiling Rob as an Angelino with a very unusual occupation) and a 2005 appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
Additionally, concert engagements have included appearances across America and around the world. Seven international tours have included programs in England, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. His expansive career dates back to his concert debut in 1974, and includes numerous releases as a recording artist.
RICHARDS was named 2005 “Organist of the Year” by the American Theatre Organ Society.
Richards’ expertise includes instrument design and planning, re-design, and tonal finishing. Especially notable were the El Capitan/Fox Wurlitzer pipe organ, and the world’s two largest digital theatre organs (for the prestigious Walker Technical Company, Zionsville, PA).
His innovative “FUSION!” presentation integrates computer music technology with the pipe organ. The concept, while sometimes controversial among the purists in the organ world, introduced a new kind of music in which Rob is conductor, arranger and performer.
Richards is also a composer. His first recorded collection of original music was released in 1993, entitled SONGS IN THE KEY OF LOVE. His writing encompasses virtually every style from academic to pop, silent film scores and music for children’s television. He wrote the songs for KIDFIT, a children’s TV series on physical fitness. In 1996 he completed writing and arranging music for a children’s TV show called UNCLE WALLY’S WACKY WORLD. In 2000 he participated in Disney’s WAHOO WAGON, a new children’s show at the El Capitan theatre. In 2003, Richards wrote theme music for legendary Hollywood puppeteer Bob Baker’s Marionette Theatre.
In 2006, Richards shared composing responsibilities in writing music for a new animated film, “Remember Me.” The original story includes an animated character that plays the Mighty Wurlitzer. These compositions were written in the style of early 1930s jazz.
Passionately committed to arts programming for young people, Rob is well known for his concerts which introduce children to the organ.