Read More UMBC News Blog Stories

July 27, 2007

UMBC Symphony Orchestra Begins New Era with Appointment of E. Michael Richards as Music Director

Community Audition Dates Announced

Contact: Thomas Moore
Director of Arts & Culture

Note: You may view or download this release as a pdf file.

E. Michael Richards (Photo: Richard Anderson)The UMBC Symphony Orchestra ushers in a new era this fall with the appointment of E. Michael Richards (pictured left) as music director and conductor. Maestro Richards assumed the position upon the retirement in spring 2007 of Wayne Cameron, who led the Symphony for more than twenty years.

The Symphony, an ensemble of 50 to 70 musicians, performs standard orchestral literature from the 18th through 20th centuries and has commissioned music by living composers. Recent performances have featured symphonies of Beethoven and Dvorak, as well as concerti by Brahms, Bach and Weber with visiting artist soloists. Members of the Symphony can enter an annual competition to appear as a concerto soloist. The Symphony comprises musicians from the UMBC student community as well as professional and amateur musicians from the greater Baltimore region.

Repertoire for the 2007-2008 concert season will include Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 (the “Reformation”) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. The Symphony will present three performances this year in the UMBC Recital Hall:
Sunday, November 18 at 8 pm
Sunday, March 9 at 3 pm
Sunday, May 11 at 3 pm

Professional and amateur musicians are encouraged to audition for the Symphony on the following dates:
Monday, August 13, 7 – 9 pm
Wednesday, August 22, 7 – 9 pm
Monday, August 27, 7 – 9 pm
Tuesday, August 28, 7 – 9 pm

Interested musicians should contact Maestro Richards by email at or by phone at 410-455-3064.

About E. Michael Richards
Dr. E. Michael Richards has more than 25 years of conducting experience, serving as assistant conductor with the La Jolla Civic Orchestra (San Diego), woodwind coach with the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra and Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, conductor of the Bowdoin College Orchestra, and conductor of the Hamilton College Orchestra for 17 years. He has also guest conducted the Syracuse Society for New Music, and orchestras in Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

At Hamilton, Richards led the Orchestra on 6 concert tours, including one by invitation of the governments of Romania and Bulgaria to tour those countries for 14 days. The Orchestra performed with internationally renowned bassist Bertram Turetzky; virtuoso performer of the koto, Nanae Yoshimura; cello soloist Zuill Bailey; and commissioned and premiered works by 7 American and Japanese composers. The Orchestra and Richard Boulanger's work for radio baton, computer, and Nintendo glove were featured on Syracuse CBS TV (Channel 5 News), and in an article by the Associated Press. Masataka Matsuo’s work was recorded by the Orchestra for an Opus One CD (released Feb. 1996). A review in Fanfare Magazine stated: “Hamilton College is a small liberal arts school of only 1650 students; for them to field a seventy-piece symphony orchestra that can handle such a complex modern work is a staggering achievement.”

As a clarinetist, Richards has premiered over 150 works at performances throughout the United States, Japan, Australia, and Western Europe. Trained at the New England Conservatory (B.Mus.) and Yale School of Music (M.Mus.), Richards earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego. He received a 1990 U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship (sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, and Japanese Government Cultural Agency) as a solo recitalist (clarinet, conducting) for a six-month residency in Japan; an NEH Summer Fellowship to study traditional Japanese music; a residency grant (Cassis, France) from the Camargo Foundation to complete a book, The Clarinet of the Twenty-First Century; and a Second Prize at the 2004 Research Competition of The International Clarinet Society (clarinet music of Akira Nishimura). Richards has performed as concerto soloist with the Syracuse Symphony and Shinsei Japan Philharmonic (Tokyo), in chamber music performances with the Cassatt Quartet and Ying Quartet, and in recital at more than a dozen international festivals, as well as at the American Academy in Rome, and the Tokyo American Center. He has also performed as a member of the Tanosaki-Richards Duo (with pianist Kazuko Tanosaki) since 1982. He is currently an associate professor of music at UMBC.

Richards has recorded on the NEUMA, Mode, CRI, Ninewinds, and Opus One labels.

UMBC Arts website:
Online News Releases:

Images for Media
A high resolution image of E. Michael Richards for media is available online:
or by email or postal mail.
Photo credit: Richard Anderson.

Posted by tmoore at July 27, 2007 2:42 PM