Rob Richards has gained worldwide celebrity as a concert and recording artist, and is the House Organist at Disney's historic El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. In addition to his international concert schedule, he has performed an astonishing Four Thousand performances at the El Capitan since 1999, playing the legendary Wurlitzer pipe organ originally installed in San Francisco’s Fox Theatre. His combination of technical facility, showmanship and personality has won him fans across America and around the world. Richards was named 2005 Organist of the Year" by the American Theatre Organ Society, coinciding with his thirtieth year of concerts and the Society's 50th anniversary.
Variety (the show business magazine) wrote that Richards’ performance at the El Capitan Wurlitzer is “a special added treat.” Disney legends (Academy award-winning songwriters) the Sherman Brothers proclaimed Richards a “supercalifragilistic talent!” Film critic Leonard Maltin enthused that Rob plays with "musical flair...skill and showmanship." Rob has performed for many of Hollywood's most famous celebrities, and shared the stage at events with Julie Andrews and Elton John! Richards has appeared on numerous national TV programs. The documentary "The Souls of Los Angeles" celebrated him as an Angelino with a very unusual occupation! And in 2005, he appeared on ABC-TV's "The View" playing the El Capitan pipe organ.
In addition to his El Capitan schedule and concert tours, Richards' design expertise has led to numerous collaborations on pipe, digital and combination instruments. As part of his long-term relationship with the Walker Technical Company (builders of state-of-the-art custom digital instruments) he has been involved with instrument design, marketing and public relations, as well as concerts and recordings.
The Richards/Walker collaboration includes the creation of Richards' own five-manual digital theatre organ. Richards' original design includes many innovative features, and is the equivalent of 7000 pipes. It is the largest instrument of its kind in the world.
Career highlights include:
- The (2004) 40th Anniversary Mary Poppins Re- premiere, with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke
- A concert appearance with famed pianist Liberace
- Playing the famous Radio City Music Hall organ in New York
- A concert series on the world's largest Wurlitzer pipe organ
- Two years as guest organist at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus
- A special engagement as soloist: Flagstaff (Arizona) Symphony
- Seven international concert tours including England, Japan, Australia & New Zealand
- Designing his own five-manual digital theatre organ
His innovative “FUSION!” presentation integrates computer music technology with the pipe organ. The concept, once controversial among the purists in the organ world, introduces a new kind of music in which Rob is conductor, arranger and performer. This innovative approach to keyboard music (which includes the pipe organ) significantly broadens the possibilities of programming for contemporary audiences.
Richards is also a composer and arranger. His first recorded collection of original music was released in 1993, entitled "Songs in the Key of Love." His writing encompasses virtually every style from academic to pop, silent film scores and music for children’s television. He wrote the songs for Kidfit, a children’s TV series on physical fitness. In 1996 he completed writing and arranging music for a children’s TV show called Uncle Wally's Wacky World (in development). In 2000 he participated in Disney's Wahoo Wagon, a new children's show at the El Capitan theatre. In 2003, Richards wrote theme music for legendary Hollywood puppeteer Bob Baker's Marionette Theatre. In 2006, Richards shared composing responsibilities, writing several themes for a new animated film, "Remember Me." The original story includes an animated character that plays the Mighty Wurlitzer. Richards' new compositions are written in the style of early 1930s jazz. Passionately committed to arts programming for young people, Rob is well known for his concerts which introduce children to the theatre organ.
Richards is currently planning the permanent installation of his five-manual digital theatre organ in Hollywood.
c/o The El Capitan Theatre
6838 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
E-Mail: musicbyrob [at] me.com
ATOS Artists' pages are provided as a courtesy to the artist and do not imply an endorsement by the American Theatre Organ Society
ATOS Artists' pages are provided as a courtesy to the artist and do not imply an endorsement by the American Theatre Organ Society.