Richard McKay, conductor

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Richard McKay is a conductor of the symphonic and operatic repertory across the United States, Europe and South America. An established leader in the vibrant Dallas arts community, his recent performances have been hailed by critics as “spellbinding,” “finely paced,” and “perfectly shaped.” He currently serves as artistic director of the Dallas Chamber Symphony.

McKay has been lauded for his fresh approach to classical programming, and for creating the innovative and entertaining combinations of widely varied repertoire heard at his regular subscription performances, and for which the DCS has become well known. D Magazine describes him as a “conductor [whose] long-term vision is [for the DCS to become] precisely the kind of eclectic and occasionally challenging classic group Dallas really needs.” The Dallas Morning News has praised the orchestra as not only “an ensemble with real potential to enrich the local arts scene,” but also one whose recent performances, led by McKay, were “as eager and expressive as they were accomplished.”

Always an advocate for new music, McKay has performed at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where he was invited by Marin Alsop to conduct the world premiere of Clint Needham’s Radiant Nation as part of the festival’s In the Works concert program. He has conducted the world premieres of eleven original scores, and continues to commission and promote the works of living composers.

McKay has held positions as Cover Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, and has assisted such conductors as Robert Spano, Günther Herbig and Carlos Kalmar, among many others. He has recently led performances at the Aspen Music Festival, where he was a fellowship conductor at the American Academy of Conducting. McKay has also made recent appearances with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Mendoza Symphony, Estonian National Youth Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Symphony and CCM Spoleto in Italy.

He holds a doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory, where he trained with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar, while serving as the assistant conductor of the Peabody Orchestras and Opera. He graduated with a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from The University of Texas at Austin, where he served as Music Director of the University Orchestra and conductor at the Butler Opera Center. Also at the University, he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance.

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