Assistant Principal Flute
Assistant principal flutist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1968, Richard Graef holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University. He also attended the Aspen Music School and later traveled to Salzburg, Austria, to attend the Mozarteum Academy of Music.
Before coming to Chicago, Graef served as assistant principal flutist of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1966-68. On leave of absence from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the 1985-86 season, he returned to his home state, where he was appointed professor of music in flute at Indiana University.
Graef is an active performer and teacher of the Baroque, one-keyed flute, and has an extensive collection of historic flutes. He is currently an associate professor in flute at Northwestern University School of Music, teaching modern and early flute technique. He is also on the faculty of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Graef was honored with a Grammy Award for his performances with Chicago Pro Musica.
During the 1990s, Graef teamed up with his flutist wife Emily to lead the Galena Chamber Ensemble in an extensive chamber music concert series in Galena, Illinois and also performed together as part of the Juliana Ensemble.
Outside of music, Graef has an active interest in environmental causes and is involved in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the restoration and preservation of a remnant oak woodland and tallgrass prairie on his property in Wisconsin.
Graef is the father of four children: Rick, Rachel, Anita, and Julian.