Sam L. Richards grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, raised by a family of painters, poets, dancers, and scientists. True to his roots, his influences are as broad as his upbringing and he is a prolific composer, filmmaker, photographer, multimedia artist, and writer. He is continually embracing opportunities to expand his awareness, his art, and his multiplicity of identity.
After studying philosophy at Westminster College he attended the University of Utah, graduating with a B.M. in Music Composition. Along the way he studied piano performance with Lenora Brown, Marjorie Janove, and Heather Conner. His notable composition teachers include Steve Ricks, Stan Funicelli, Igor Iachimciuc, Miguel Chuaqui, Morris Rosenzweig, Robert Kyr, David Crumb, and he is currently studying with Michael Daugherty at the University of Michigan. His works have been featured and read by the likes of the Canyonlands Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, Fireworks Ensemble, Crosstalk, Utah Composer’s Ensemble, the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (ECCE), Classical Revolution PDX, and the Sospiro New Music Vocal Ensemble.
His multimedia installations have been featured at the Center for Interdisciplinary Arts and Technology (CIDAT), Media Experiments in Technology and the Arts (META), and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. He has collaborated with various choreographers including Tiffany Alexandra Taylor, Valerie Ifill, Kyle Sorensen, and most recently Shannon Mockli, Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Oregon. In this respect his work has been featured on numerous dance productions at the University of Oregon, The Barefoot Collective in Seattle, somebodies dance theater, UO-Repertory Dance Company, ECCE, and at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
In addition to his collaborative work with choreographers, he has been commissioned by The Superman Orchestra to write a new and original score to a classic Fleischer Brother’s cartoon, The Mad Scientist, which received several performances to raving reviews in both Portland, OR, and Northampton, MA. He has scored numerous short films and documentaries, including a film by Greg Corey about Joshua Tree National Park.
His work was recently performed at ANIMA, by violist Kate Rogers in conjunction with choreography by the composer and Kyle Sorenson. In July 2009 a newly commissioned score for Death Rides a Horse was premiered at the Hollywood Theater in Portland as part the “Filmusik” series.
He is currently the recipient of a Rackham Fellowship and works as a Graduate Teaching Instructor at the University of Michigan. Previous positions include working as a Graduate Teaching Fellow of Music Composition at the University of Oregon, Assistant to the Director of the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium 2009, Director of ANIMA, and the Director and Conductor of the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (ECCE).