Stories with Richard Kaufman

Principal Pops conductor Richard Kaufman celebrates his 30th anniversary season with Pacific Symphony this year. Over the decades, he’s conducted many memorable pops concerts that Symphony audiences have enjoyed. His programs featuring soundtracks and live music to film, have been especially popular.

Richard Kaufman sat down for a digital chat with Eileen Jeanette, Pacific Symphony’s senior vice-president of artistic planning. In an expansive three-part conversation, he recounts the early days of his career working at MGM and other Hollywood recording studios. You’ll hear about tricks-of-the trade in Hollywood film music-making. How is it that he’s able to conduct a live orchestra playing the soundtrack to synchronize it to the film the audience is watching? You’ll want to know.

Kaufman also reminisces about his early days as Pops conductor with Pacific Symphony. Before he conducted the orchestra, he played violin on one performance of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” as a free-lance musician. When the popular crooner and TV star Andy Williams (“Moon River”) engaged Kaufman to conduct his symphony concert tours, one of the appearances was with Pacific Symphony. He enjoyed working with the Symphony and found the audience to be incredible so he decided to write the executive director at the time, Lou Spisto. At that time, Kaufman was the vice-president of music for MGM television and in his letter he expressed an interest in doing a concert of film music as a part of the Symphony’s pop series. In 1990, he was invited to conduct at Pacific Symphony and the rest is history.

You’ll enjoy hearing Richard Kaufman’s stories of 30 years with Pacific Symphony. Kick back, watch this entertaining conversation and offer a champagne toast to this remarkable musician who has been so integral to Pacific Symphony’s growth.

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Tenure at Pacific Symphony

Part III: The Hollywood Years

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