Featured in “Mahler and the Breath of Life” with his world premiere of Breath of Life
Born in New York City in 1969 to a musical family, composer Paul Richards has been engaged with music since childhood, including forays into various popular styles, the Western canon, and Jewish sacred and secular music through his father, a cantor. All of these experiences inform his creative activities, which have included numerous orchestral, vocal, chamber, and theatrical works. Hailed in the press as a composer with “a strong, pure melodic gift, an ear for color, and an appreciation for contrast and variety,” and praised for his “fresh approach to movement and beautiful orchestral coloration,” his works have been heard in performance throughout the country and internationally on six continents.
Commissions have come from organizations including The Florida Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Brass, Flute New Music Consortium,the 6ixwire project, White Snake Projects, Partners for the Arts Abroad, Florida State Music Teachers’ Association, St. Mary’s University/Kaplan Foundation, Buffet-Crampon International Summer Clarinet Academy, Open Heart String Quartet, Duo 46, Sonoran Consort, Meet the Composer-Arizona, Arizona Repertory Singers, Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Catalina Chamber Orchestra. In addition, many of the top university wind programs in the country have commissioned Richards‹ work, and his theatrical work has included music for dance, plays, film, and five operas.
He has been recognized in numerous competitions, winning the 2017 Flute New Music Consortium Competition Competition, the 2014 Columbia Summer Winds Outdoor Composition Competition, the 2009 St. Mary’s University/Kaplan Foundation Composition Competition, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra‘s Fresh Ink 2002 Florida Composers’ Competition, the International Section of the 2000 New Music for Sligo/IMRO Composition Award, and the 2001 and 2004 Truman State University/M.A.C.R.O. Composition Competitions. Other honors and awards include Special Distinction in the ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize, Finalist in the 2006 American Composers Orchestra Whitaker Reading Sessions, Finalist in the Atlanta Chamber Players 2009 Rapido! Composition Competition, Second Prize in the International Horn Society Composition Competition in 2001, First Place in the 1999 Voices of Change Composers Competition, two First Place prizes in the Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composers Award (1994-95, 1995-96) and many others.
Rough Translations, a category defying disc featuing Richards performing electric versions of several of his acoustic compositions was released in 2020, and Forty-Four Ambitions for Soprano and Piano was released in 2019, both on the on the Meyer Media label. Witch Doctor, a CD of Richards’ wind ensemble music, was released in 2013 on the Mark Custom label, and Fables, Forms, and Fears, a CD of Richards’ chamber music, was released by Meyer Media in 2007. Music by Paul Richards is also recorded on the Blue Griffin, Capstone, Centaur, MMC, Neuma, Pavane, Petrichor, Raven, Spitfire, and Summit labels. His works are published by Carl Fischer Music, Jeanné, Inc., the International Horn Society Press, TrevCo Music, and Margalit Music. Currently Professor of Music and head of composition and theory at the University of Florida, where he has been on the faculty since 1999, he served as Visiting Professor at Florida State University in 2016, and previously taught at Baylor University. Richards earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition at the University of Texas at Austin, and Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Theory and Composition at the University of Arizona.