Richard is one of Scotland’s most versatile musicians, who has influenced a generation of teachers and students with his innovative methods of teaching improvisation through thirty years work with Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra (FYJO) and a career as composer, performer and workshop leader.
As a composer, Richard has written for artistes as diverse as Colin Currie, Georgie Fame, Tommy Smith and Guy Barker. His many works for FYJO have been recorded and broadcast. A documentary programme for BBC2’s Young Musician of the Year in 1996 brought his teaching methods to a wider audience.
As a pianist and organist, Richard gives recitals on The Art of Improvisation, and can improvise in any key, in any style at the merest hint of a theme! He is Radio Scotland’s ‘Jazz Jargonbuster’ and has demonstrated many styles of Jazz in ‘The Jazz House‘, and has opened up classical music to a new audience in ‘Classics Uncovered’.
As a workshop leader he has recently returned from South East Asia where he led jazz piano seminars for the Associated Board, for whom he is a key figure in the development of their jazz programmes. He directed the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland in 2004 and 2005 and is a mentor for several youth bands in the UK. He has been bringing jazz to the north-east of Scotland as part of Youth Music Initiative and has been training music teachers in his methods of directing a big band without music.
Recent activities include presentations for Schools’ Music Association, Scottish Association of Music Educators and the National Association of Music Educators, plus commissions for Dumfries Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Wigmore Hall for whom Richard produced a CD-ROM of jazz and Baroque music. He also appeared with Phil Cunningham in BBC2’s six-part series, ‘Scotland’s Music’.
His most recent work is ‘Listen Up’, a new Young Persons Guide to the instruments of the Orchestra, Big Band, Folk Group and Rock Band based on Jeremiah Clarke’s famous Trumpet Tune. This work, premiered in May 06 has attracted much interest as a major work to attract the interest of youngsters toward playing a musical instrument. A DVD will be issued shortly.
His most recent achievements include leaving teaching (after 35 years) to concentrate on freelance activities! and his award as the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group ‘Jazz Educator’.