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Scott D Richards

Professor, Cali School of Music

BA, Yale University
MFA, New York University Tisch School of The Arts
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Associate Director for Faculty of the John J. Cali School of Music.

A specialist in Opera and Musical Theatre, Professor Richards teaches private composition students, Acting for the Singer (a course in which students learn to integrate their music theoretical/literary analysis with actor preparation), and the occasional course in Musical Theatre history.

He is an award winning composer/librettist whose creative works have resided at various addresses around the intersection of Jazz, Opera, and Musical theatre. His most recent opera, Blind Injustice (with librettist David Cote) premiered with direction by Robin Guarino at Cincinnati Opera in 2019 to a sold out run and national critical acclaim. The live CD/Album was cited by Opera News as one of the 5 Best New Opera Recordings of 2022 and was produced with great press fanfare by Montclair State's Peak Performances in February of 2024.

He has completed commissions for The Public Theater; The Rumble of Myth (with Marcus Gardley) and the TONY Winning Signature Theatre (VA) The Break (with Michele Lowe). The New York City Opera has performed two Richards works as a part of its Vox Festival of new opera; A Star Across The Ocean - Paris 1965 featuring Tony Award Winner, Chuck Cooper and Charlie Crosses the Nation, An Opera in Jazz Idiom. He was commissioned by Paulette Haupt, Artistic Director of The O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Musical Theatre Conference to compose A Thousand Words Come to Mind (with Michele Lowe) for the inaugural set of her Inner Voices one-person musical monologue series. Other musical theatre works include music for Coyote Goes Salmon Fishing (written with Deborah Brevoort) directed by Molly Smith at Perseverance Theatre/produced by Stuart Ostrow in Houston) and the original score for A Christmas Story The Musical at Kansas City Rep.

His play-scores have been heard at resident theatres around the country including The Yale Rep, Alliance, Center Stage, Madison Rep, Powerhouse and New Federal.

Works for children include a number of commissions from Theatreworks U. S. A.; Corduroy (music, lyrics, orchestration), Sundiata! The Lion King of Mali (music, lyrics, orchestration), Island of the Blue Dolphins (orchestrations) and Junie B. Jones (orchestrations.)

As an actor, Mr. Richards originated the role of Sylvester (the stuttering nephew who almost ruins the recording session) in the historic original Broadway production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and assisted his father, Director Lloyd Richards in the origination and Broadway premieres of three other Wilson works.

A recipient of the Jonathan Larson, Frederick Loewe, Shen Family Foundation, Meet the Composer, and the NJ State Council on the Arts Composition Awards, he taught on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program from 1997-2009 has remained a regular guest teacher.

As of today, he is hard at work on a new opera Robeson/Moscow with co-librettist David Cote which was workshopped at Cincinnati Opera's Opera Fusion: New Works in 2023.

M. F. A. New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program
B. A. Yale University