Richard Kaufman has devoted much of his musical life to conducting and supervising music for film and television productions, as well as performing film and classical music in concert halls and on recordings. The 2011-2012 concert season marks Richard’s twenty-first season as Principal Pops Conductor of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony. He also holds the permanent title of Pops Conductor Laureate with the Dallas Symphony. He is currently in his seventh season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, “Friday Night at the Movies”, conducting classic and contemporary film music, as well as classical music used in motion pictures. Richard regularly appears as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras throughout both the United States and around the world including Colorado, Utah, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, the National Symphony in Washington DC, Florida, Calgary, Edmonton, Rotterdam and the Malaysian Philharmonic. Following his 2009 debut, Richard returned to the podium of the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall in December, 2010 for his third engagement, and in 2012 returns for his third year at the Blossom Music Festival, conducting the Cleveland Orchestra. In May, 2011 at the Krakow Film Music Festival, Richard conducted a live performance of the entire score for “Pirates of the Caribbean” as the film was shown in its entirety, and the following summer lead the same program at the Blossom Music Festival. During the past year, he made his conducting debuts with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (June, 2011), the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (October, 2011), the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland (January, 2012), and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (January, 2012). In October of 2011, he conducted concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre which were recorded for release on the LSO LIVE recording label.
Richard received the 1993 Grammy Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance for a recording he conducted with the Nuremberg Symphony. His recordings include “The High and the Mighty” (Varese Sarabande) with the London Symphony Orchestra. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, this CD features music from classic and contemporary films about flying. Richard’s other recordings include film music performed by the Brandenburg Philharmonic in Berlin, a second recording with the Nuremberg Symphony celebrating the 100th anniversary of motion pictures, and two critically acclaimed CDs with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducting the film music of Alfred Newman and Victor Young.
He has conducted for performers including John Denver, Andy Williams, Mary Martin, Nanette Fabray, Juliet Prowse, Sir James Galway, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, The Pointer Sisters, Arturo Sandoval, The Beach Boys, Monica Mancini, Peter Paul and Mary, Patty Austin, Robert Goulet, David Copperfield, Davis Gaines, The Righteous Brothers, Martin Short, Jim Brickman, and Art Garfunkel. As a violinist, Richard performed on numerous film and television scores including “Jaws”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “Saturday Night Fever”, and (in a moment of desperation) “Animal House”. He has recorded with artists including John Denver, Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, The Carpenters, Neil Diamond, and Ray Charles.
Richard joined the Music Department of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1984 as Music Coordinator, and for the next 18 years supervised music for all MGM television projects. He received two Emmy Award nominations, one for the animated series, “The Pink Panther” in the category of Outstanding Music Direction and Composition, and another for Outstanding Original Song co-authored for the series, “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” For the MGM television series “In the Heat of the Night”, Richard composed songs with Actor/Producer Carroll O’Connor. He conducted scores for films including “Guarding Tess” and “Jungle to Jungle”.
As a unique part of his career in film, Richard has coached various actors in musical roles including Jack Nicholson, Dudley Moore, Tom Hanks, Armand Assante, David Ogden Stiers and Susan Sarandon.
Richard has served as Music Director and Conductor for numerous musicals. His first assignment (at age 23) was as conductor for the National Tour of “Sweet Charity” starring Juliet Prowse. He conducted the First National Tours of “Company” (for Hal Prince) and “Two Gentlemen of Verona” (for Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival). For the Los Angeles and San Francisco Civic Light Operas, he was Music Director and Conductor for musicals including “Wonderful Town” (starring Nanette Fabray), “Irma La Douce”, “The Sound of Music” (for which he was nominated by the San Francisco Theater Critics for Outstanding Music Direction), and “Guys and Dolls” (starring Milton Berle).
It was recently announced that in April, 2012 Richard will receive the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from his alma mater, California State University @ Northridge. While a student at CSUN, he composed the University’s Alma Mater and Fight Song. In May, 2008, Richard was the keynote speaker for the CSUN Honors Convocation Ceremony. He has appeared as a guest speaker at various universities including Southern California, Georgia, Furman, and the California State Universities at Northridge and Fullerton. He is a member of the Music Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation.
Born in Los Angeles, Richard began violin studies at age 7, played in the Peter Meremblum California Junior Symphony, and was a member of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. He attended the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood in the Fellowship program, and earned a B.A. in Music from California State University Northridge. Richard lives in Southern California with his wife, Gayle, a former dancer in film, television and on Broadway. His daughter, Whitney is a graduate (with honors) from Chapman University in Orange, California, and for 2 ½ years was a member of the cast of the National Tour of “Mama Mia.”