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Richard Kaufman

Principal Pops Conductor for Pacific Symphony

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. After 29 years as principal pops conductor of Pacific Symphony, it was recently announced that Kaufman will conclude his tenure in May 2020, transitioning to principal Pops conductor laureate beginning in 2020-21. He is in his 14th season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, “CSO at the Movies,” and holds the permanent title of pops conductor laureate with the Dallas Symphony.

Kaufman regularly appears as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and around the world, including Cleveland, Philadelphia, St. Louis, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the RTÉ Concert and RTÉ National Orchestras in Dublin, Indianapolis, San Diego and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In September 2018, he made his conducting debut with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

In addition to traditional concert presentations, he often conducts complete film scores in concert, synchronizing the music as the film is shown above the orchestra. These include Casablanca, North by Northwest, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Psycho, Vertigo, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, The Bride of Frankenstein, Pirates of the Caribbean I and II, Silverado, On the Waterfront, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Beyond, Home Alone, Harry Potter and Star Wars (various episodes). Kaufman also conducts the scores to various silent films. He recently made his New York Philharmonic debut conducting five sold-out performances of the Oscar-winning film Amadeus.

Kaufman received the 1993 Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category. He has recorded with the London Symphony, Nuremberg Symphony, the New Zealand Symphony and the Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra in Berlin. He also has conducted for numerous performers including John Denver, Andy Williams, Nanette Fabray, Amy Grant, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Chris Botti, Arturo Sandoval and many others. As a studio violinist, Kaufman performed on numerous film and television scores including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and (in a moment of desperation) Animal House. He has recorded and performed in concert with artists including John Denver, Burt Bacharach, the Carpenters, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra.

Kaufman served as music associate to Lionel Newman at 20th Century Fox before joining the music department of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1984 as music coordinator. For 18 years, he supervised music at MGM, during which he received two Emmy Award nominations. As a unique part of his career, Kaufman has coached various actors in musical roles, including Jack Nicholson, Dudley Moore and Tom Hanks.

In 2012, Kaufman received the Distinguished Alumni Award from California State University–Northridge (CSUN), where, as a student, he composed the University’s alma mater and fight song. He is a member of the music advisory board of the Young Musicians Foundation, and is on the board of the Film Music Foundation.

Born in Los Angeles, Kaufman began violin studies at the age of seven, played in the Peter Meremblum California Junior Symphony, was a member of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, attended the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood in the fellowship program and earned a degree in music from CSUN. His wife, Gayle, is a former dancer/actress in film, television, and on Broadway, and his daughter, Whitney, is a singer/actress performing on recordings and in concert with orchestras around the world.

He is proud to be represented by Opus 3 Artists.