Born in New York City in 1969 to a musical family, composer Paul Richards has been engaged with music since childhood, including forays into various popular styles, the Western canon, and Jewish sacred and secular music through his father, a cantor. All of these experiences inform his creative activities, which have included numerous orchestral, vocal, chamber, and theatrical works, including two full-length operas. Hailed in the press as a composer with “a strong, pure melodic gift, an ear for color, and an appreciation for contrast and variety,” and praised for his “fresh approach to movement and beautiful orchestral coloration,” his works have been heard in performance throughout the country and internationally on six continents.
Commissions have come from organizations including the Florida Orchestra, the Boston Brass, the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, White Snake Projects, Partners for the Arts Abroad, Florida State Music Teachers’ Association and Music Teacher’s National Association, Duo 46, Sonoran Consort, Meet the Composer-Arizona, Arizona Repertory Singers, Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Catalina Chamber Orchestra. In addition, many of the top university wind programs in the country have commissioned Richards’ work, and his theatrical work has included music for dance, plays, film, and three full-length operas.
He has been recognized in numerous competitions, winning the St. Mary’s College/Kaplan Foundation Commission Competition, the Columbia Summer Winds Outdoor Composition Contest, the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s Fresh Ink Florida Composers’ Competition, the International Section of the New Music for Sligo/IMRO Composition Award and the Truman State University/M.A.C.R.O. Composition Competitions. Other honors and awards include Special Distinction in the ASCAP Rudolph Nissim Prize, Finalist in the American Composers Orchestra Whitaker Reading Sessions, Second Prize in the International Horn Society Composition Competition, First Place in the Voices of Change Composers Competition, two First Place prizes in the Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composers Award, and many others.
Music by Paul Richards is recorded on the Meyer Media, Capstone, Mark, Summit, MMC, Raven, and Pavane labels, and his works are published by Carl Fischer Music, TrevCo Music, Jéanne Inc., the International Horn Society Press, and Margalit Music. Currently Research Foundation Professor of Music and head of composition and theory at the University of Florida, where he has been on the faculty since 1999, he served as Visiting Professor at Florida State University in 2016, and previously taught at Baylor University. Richards earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition at the University of Texas at Austin, and Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Theory and Composition at the University of Arizona.