James E. Richards

Interim Dean, UMSL Fine Arts and Communication
Professor of Music

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James Richards serves as Interim Dean for UMSL Fine Arts and Communication. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Richards held the positions of Senior Associate Dean for Academics and Scholarship, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Chair of the Department of Music. He is a member of the 2005 class of the University of Missouri Leadership Development Program of the President's Academic Leadership Institute. 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, and participated 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. 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 St. 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 NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Dr. Richards has recently completed terms as President of the Missouri Association of Departments and School of Music (MADSM) and the Missouri Chapter of the American String Teachers Association (MoASTA). He has been a reviewer of new string literature for the American String Teacher Journal, served for three years as national chair of the ASTA Merle J. Isaac Composition Competition, and authored chapters on works by William Grant Still, Johann Strauss, Jr., and Elliot Del Borgo in volume III of the Teaching Music through Performance in Orchestra series published by GIA.

As a violinist, Dr. Richards has performed with a variety of 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 has been the 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 the Faculty Excellence Award from the College of Fine Arts and Communication. 

Contact Information
Phone: (314) 516-4571
Email: jamesrichards@umsl.edu