Richard Kaufman has devoted much of his musical life to conducting and supervising music for film and television productions, as well as performing film and classical music in concert halls and on recordings. The 2017-18 season marks his twelfth season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s CSO at the Movies concert series and his twenty-seventh season as Principal Pops Conductor of Pacific Symphony. He holds the permanent title of Pops Conductor Laureate with the Dallas Symphony.
Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Kaufman began violin studies at age seven. He attended the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood in the fellowship program, and earned a B.A. in Music from California State University, Northridge. He received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012.
Mr. Kaufman joined the music department of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1984 as music coordinator, and for the next eighteen years supervised music for MGM. He received two Emmy award nominations, and he has conducted scores for films including Guarding Tess and Jungle to Jungle. Mr. Kaufman received the 1993 Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. In addition to two recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra, he has also recorded CDs with the Nuremberg Symphony, the New Zealand Symphony, and the Brandenburg Philharmonic in Berlin.
Highlights of Mr. Kaufman’s 2017-18 season include debuts with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and the Handel and Haydn Society. He regularly appears as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and around the world including those in Cleveland, Atlanta, Saint Louis, London, Liverpool, Dublin, Indianapolis, San Diego, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 2015, Mr. Kaufman made his conducting debut with the Boston Pops Orchestra, substituting for John Williams at the Annual Pops Film Night. He has conducted for performers including John Denver, Andy Williams, Mary Martin, Nanette Fabray, James Galway, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, the Beach Boys, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Robert Goulet, David Copperfield, the Righteous Brothers, and Art Garfunkel. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1984.
A member of the Music Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation, Mr. Kaufman lives in Southern California with his wife, Gayle, a former dancer. His daughter Whitney is a graduate of Chapman University and was previously a member of the cast of the national tour of Mamma Mia!.