The Kennedy Center

Richard Kaufman


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. This past September, he made his National Symphony Orchestra debut, and conducts all four of the NSO's Nights at the Movies this season. As Principal Pops Conductor, Richard is in his 12th season with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and his 18th season with Orange County's Pacific Symphony. He is currently in his fifth season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, Friday Night at the Movies. Richard often appears as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and around the world. He recently made his conducting debut with the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur, and will make his first appearance with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Richard received the 1993 Grammy Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance. His most recent recording, The High and the Mighty (Varese Sarabande), is 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, 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 numerous performers including John Denver; Andy Williams; Nanette Fabray; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and Art Garfunkel. As a violinist, Richard has 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, Tony Bennett, Burt Bacharach, 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 MGM film and 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. As a unique part of his career in film, Richard has coached various actors in musical roles including Jack Nicholson, Dudley Moore, Tom Hanks, and Susan Sarandon.

Richard has served as music director and conductor for numerous musicals, both in Los Angeles and on national tours. 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).

While a student at California State University at Northridge, Richard composed the school's alma mater and fight song. In May of 2008, Richard was the keynote speaker for the Honors Convocation Ceremony at his alma mater. 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 and Business Advisory Boards of the Young Musicians Foundation.

Born in Los Angeles, Richard began violin studies at age seven, 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 at Northridge.
Richard Kaufman