Richard Kaufman has devoted much of his 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 2015-16 concert season marks Mr. Kaufman’s 25th 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 10th 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 globally, including Cleveland, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Utah, San Diego, Edmonton, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland.
After his debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in March 2014, Mr. Kaufman returned to Scotland for three engagements during the 2014-15 concert season, and returns for two engagements during the 2015-16 season. Following two engagements at the Blossom Music Center during the summer of 2014 conducting The Cleveland Orchestra and the Blossom Festival Orchestra, he returns to Blossom for concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra on Labor Day weekend in 2015. In November 2014 Mr. Kaufman returned to Perth, Australia, to conduct the West Australia Symphony Orchestra. Following his 2014 conducting debut at the Catalina Island Museum Silent Film Gala, Mr. Kaufman returned to Catalina in May 2015 to conduct the 1925 classic thriller, Phantom of the Opera, with organist Dennis James. This past May Mr. Kaufman made his conducting debut with the Boston Pops Orchestra, substituting for John Williams at the annual “Pops Film Night.”
In October of 2011 Mr. Kaufman conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in a concert presenting the film music of Oscar®-winning composer Dimitri Tiomkin. This performance was the first film music recording released on the LSO LIVE recording label, and it was nominated for a 2013 Grammy® (Best Instrumental Accompaniment for a Vocal - "Wild is the Wind" - Arranger Nan Schwartz).
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 The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho, Pirates of the Caribbean, Singin' in the Rain, Vertigo, the Chaplin classic City Lights and numerous other silent films. In April 2014 at the Virginia Arts Festival, Mr. Kaufman conducted the premiere performance of Stewart Copeland's score for the 1925 silent classic, Ben Hur.
Mr. Kaufman received the 1993 Grammy® Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance for a recording 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. As a violinist, Mr. Kaufman performed on numerous film and television scores including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever and Animal House.
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. He has conducted for many popular performers including John Denver, Andy Williams, Amy Grant, Mary Martin, Martin Short, Eileen Ivers, Sir James Galway, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Michael W. Smith, The Pointer Sisters, Arturo Sandoval, The Beach Boys, Peter Paul and Mary, Robert Goulet, David Copperfield, The Righteous Brothers, Martin Short, Jim Brickman and Art Garfunkel.
Mr. Kaufman has served as Music Director and Conductor for numerous musicals. His first assignment was conductor for the National Tour of Sweet Charity starring Juliet Prowse. He conducted the First National Tours of Company 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, 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.
Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Kaufman 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-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 from Chapman University in Orange, California, and was a member of the cast of the National Tour of Mama Mia! .
In April 2012 Richard Kaufman received the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, California State University-Northridge. He is on the Board of the Film Music Foundation and is a member of the Music Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation. Mr. Kaufman is proud to be represented by Opus 3 Artists.