Dr. James Richards
James Richards serves as interim Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Richards was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College and chaired the UMSL Department of Music for six years. Dr. Richards holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and degrees in orchestral conducting and music theory, as well as a Performer’s Certificate in Violin, from the University of Texas at Austin. He studied orchestral and opera conducting with Walter Ducloux, Paul Vermel, and Gustav Meier, theory and composition with Joseph Schwantner, David Beach, Robert Gauldin, Kent Kennan, and Karl Korte, and was selected to participate in the Conductor’s Program of the Aspen Music Festival.
In addition to conducting the University Orchestra, Dr. Richards currently serves as conductor and music director of the Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis and the Saint Louis Chamber Orchestra. Prior to these appointments, he served as conductor of the Kirkwood Symphony Orchestra for nineteen seasons and as associate conductor of the Kammergild Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared frequently as a guest conductor and clinician for band and orchestra festivals throughout the United States, including numerous guest appearances with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Discovery Series. In June, 2009, Dr. Richards conducted the New York premiere of the music theatre work, Booth!, by Harbach, Coker, and Yordy, at Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
Dr. Richards is past-President of the Missouri Association of Departments and School of Music (MADSM). He also has served the American String Teachers Association at the state and national levels in a variety of capacities and was President of the Missouri Chapter of the ASTA. He has been a reviewer of new string literature for the American String Teacher Journal and served for three years as national chair of the ASTA Merle J. Isaac Composition Competition.
As a violinist, Dr. Richards has performed with numerous professional ensembles including the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Kammergild Chamber Orchestra, the Fox Theatre Orchestra, the Dance St. Louis Orchestra, the St. Louis MUNY Orchestra, and the Landolfi String Quartet. In 1999, Dr. Richards received a University of Missouri Research Board Grant to study Baroque violin performance at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute. Dr. Richards is a recipient of the St. Louis Suburban Music Educator’s Association’s Merit Award “In recognition of significant contributions for the advancement of music education,” the Artist/Teacher of the Year Award from the MoASTA, and the2009 Faculty Excellence Award from the UMSL College of Fine Arts and Communication.