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 2016-17 concert season marks Mr. Kaufman’s 26th season as Principal Pops Conductor of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony. He holds the permanent title of Pops Conductor Laureate with the Dallas Symphony, and is in his 11th season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, CSO at the Movies, conducting classic and contemporary film music, as well as classical music used in motion pictures.
Mr. Kaufman regularly appears as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras throughout both the United States and around the world including Cleveland, St. Louis, San Diego, Indianapolis, Utah, Edmonton, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland. Mr. Kaufman has conducted throughout Australia, including sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House. In May 2015 Mr. Kaufman made his conducting debut with the Boston Pops, substituting for John Williams at the Annual Pops Film Night. Subsequently Mr. Williams graciously invited him to share the podium at the annual Tanglewood Film Night. During Comic-Con 2016, Mr. Kaufman conducted a live performance of Michael Giacchino’s score for Star Trek Beyond with the San Diego Symphony, accompanying the film in its gala world premiere. This was the first time in history a feature film had ever been presented outdoors in the IMAX format.
With a life-long passion for film music, Mr. Kaufman often conducts programs featuring live performances of entire scores while the film is shown. These include E.T. , Raiders of the Lost Ark, Amadeus, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho, Fantasia, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2, Singin' in the Rain, Vertigo, Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Beyond, the Chaplin classic City Lights and numerous other silent films. In April 2014 at the Virginia Arts Festival, Mr. Kaufman conducted the world premiere performance of Stewart Copeland's score for the 1925 silent classic Ben Hur. Following the premiere, he has joined composer/soloist Copeland in performances of this exciting work with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Pacific Symphony and the Luxembourg Philharmonie.
Mr. Kaufman received the 1993 Grammy® Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance for a recording he conducted with the Nuremberg Symphony. His other recordings include The High and the Mighty (Varese Sarabande) with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Kaufman has conducted for performers including John Denver, Andy Williams, Amy Grant, Mary Martin, Nanette Fabray, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall, Martin Short, Sandi Patty, Eileen Ivers, 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, the group America and Art Garfunkel. As a violinist Mr. Kaufman 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.
Mr. Kaufman 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 and animation 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.
Mr. Kaufman 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).
In April 2012 Mr. Kaufman 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 Mr. Kaufman 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 on the Board of the Film Music Foundation, and is a member of the Music Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation.
Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Kaufman 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. Mr. Kaufman 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 two years was a member of the cast of the national tour of Mama Mia! The Musical.
Richard Kaufman is proud to be represented by Opus 3 Artists.