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 2013-2014 concert season will mark Richard’s twenty-third season as Principal Pops Conductor of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony. And he has just signed a new three year agreement with that orchestra which will take him through his 25th season as Principal Pops Conductor. He holds the permanent title of Pops Conductor Laureate with the Dallas Symphony. Next season, Richard will begin his ninth season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, “CSO at the Movies” (formerly "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 Cleveland, St.; Louis, Colorado, Utah, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, the National Symphony in Washington DC, Calgary, Edmonton, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland, Hong Kong, Rotterdam and the Malaysian Philharmonic. During the summer of 2013, he returned to the Blossom Music Center to conduct The Cleveland Orchestra, and to the Chautauqua Music Festival. During the 2013-14 season, Richard will make his conducting debuts with the Ulster Orchestra (Belfast, N. Ireland), the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the City of Birmingham Orchestra (UK). In April of 2013, Richard made his Australian conducting debut, leading concerts with the Melbourne Symphony, the Sydney Symphony (at the Sydney Opera House), and the West Australia Symphony Orchestra in Perth. He has been invited to return to Australia for concerts in November of 2014.
In October of 2011, Richard conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in a concert presenting the film music of Oscar-winning composer Dimitri Tiomkin. This performance is the first film music recording released on the LSO LIVE recording label. It was nominated for a 2013 Grammy (Best Instrumental Accompaniment for a Vocal - "Wild is the Wind" - Arranger Nan Schwartz), and was also among several LSO recordings produced by James Mallinson for which he received a Grammy nomination in the category of "Best Classical Producer".
With a life-long passion for film music, Richard often conducts programs featuring live performances of entire scores while the film is shown. These include "The Wizard of Oz", "Casablanca", "Bride of Frankenstein", "Psycho", "Pirates of the Caribbean", numerous silent films, and recently conducted the U.S. premiere of the entire score (accompanyng the film) of "Singin' in the Rain". During the 2013-14 season, Richard will conduct "Vertigo" with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chaplin classic "City Lights" with both the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras. In April, 2014, Richard will conduct the Virginia Symphony at the Virginia Arts Festival in the premiere performance of Stewart Copeland's score for the 1925 silent classic "Ben Hur".
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, Amy Grant, Mary Martin, Nanette Fabray, Juliet Prowse, Sir James Galway, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Michael W. Smith, 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).
In April, 2012 Richard received 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, the California State Universities at Northridge and Fullerton, and the University of Liverpool (U.K.). 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”.
Richard is proud to be represented by Opus 3 Artists.