Lucas Richman served as Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra from 2003 – 2015. His command of the core repertoire, coupled with his finesse in presenting new and contemporary works, illustrated Maestro Richman as a source of musical expertise and artistic excellence. His work has left a permanent mark on the KSO and the Knoxville community, where he has been deeply involved with the Joy of Music School, the Arts & Culture Alliance, the Volunteer Ministry Center and the Knoxville Jewish Day School.
During his tenure in Knoxville, Maestro Richman received a GRAMMY Award (2011) in the category of Best Classical Crossover Album for having conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Christopher Tin’s classical/world fusion album, Calling All Dawns. Since 2010 he has also served as Music Director and Conductor for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and has guest-conducted concerts in Canada, Iceland, Norway and China. Recent recordings he has led from the podium include Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project, Noel Paul Stookey’s solo release “One & Many,” and Marvin Hamlisch’s final score, written for the HBO movie, Behind the Candelabra. Additionally an accomplished composer, Maestro Richman has had his music performed by over two hundred orchestras in the last fifteen years.
Artistic Achievements & Expanded Repertoire
Under Maestro Lucas Richman’s leadership, the KSO hosted world-renowned guest artists in Knoxville, introduced new works by various composers, and completed several famous symphonic cycles, including those of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mozart, and Stravinsky.
Maestro Richman has treated Knoxville-area audiences to performances by artists including Andre Watts, Midori, Rachel Barton Pine, Frederica von Stade, Emanuel Ax, Navah Perlman, Orli Shaham, Jon Kimura Parker, Corey Cerovsek, William Wolfram, Orion Weiss, Anne Akiko Meyers and Spencer Myer.
During Maestro Richman’s tenure, Knoxville audiences were introduced to nearly 80 fully-orchestrated arrangements from Maestro Richman’s own personal library, at no cost to the Orchestra, all written and utilized especially for the KSO holiday concerts, educational concerts and various run-out concerts. In addition, Richman has also been generous in bringing numerous local and world premieres of his own original orchestral and chamber works to East Tennessee.
Education and Community Partnership Programming
Additionally, during his reign, partnerships with various local arts groups have yielded numerous benefits to audiences, the community and the artists themselves. Long-time partners include the Knoxville Choral Society and the Appalachian Ballet Company, while in more recent years, Go! Contemporary Dance Works and student choristers from Carson Newman University and the University of Tennessee have joined the KSO on stage.
Maestro Richman upheld the KSO’s mission of providing not only excellence in musical performance but also in educational programming. Visits by KSO musicians to area schools and libraries increased exponentially during his tenure, bringing interactive programs to thousands of students in Knox and surrounding counties. These programs include Classroom Connections, In-school performances and a Library Story Time that joins children’s literature with classical music. Library Story Times began during Maestro Richman’s tenure and today have expanded to 10 East Tennessee counties.
The educational program with perhaps the most long-term impact on students’ lives is the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra Association. Although this program is over 45 years old, during Maestro Richman’s tenure it has expanded into an association that includes five orchestras serving over 300 students.
The KSO was one of few orchestras involved in health and wellness programming when Maestro Richman launched the Music & Wellness program in 2004, which has since grown in scope from basic performances in lobbies and in assisted living facilities to one-on-one/bedside playing for individual patients in chemotherapy treatment bays and on in-patient floors. Thanks to grant funding and Music for Healing and Transition training, five core KSO musicians earned credit hours toward becoming Certified Music Practitioners. In the 2014-2015 season alone, the KSO Music & Wellness program included 210 individual performances, reaching more than 4,000 individuals. The KSO’s nationally award-winning Music & Wellness program continues to be a catalyst to provide integrated medicine options for the entire region.
Each season since 2006-07, the KSO has operated without a deficit. During this eight-year time period, the Orchestra also retired over $500,000 in accumulated debt.
The success of any institution is the result of great teamwork by dedicated individuals. Regular attendees to the KSO routinely recognize the growth in the KSO’s artistic product during Lucas Richman’s tenure. Those patrons—and even community members that perhaps attend less frequently—have been inspired to support the KSO as a result of how the orchestra moves them. Individual donors, sponsors and grant funders value the contribution the KSO makes in the greater Knoxville area—a contribution that wouldn’t exist without the careful and heartfelt orchestra building that Lucas Richman has shepherded in 12 years at the KSO.