Richard Carr (born 27 August 1962) is an American composer and improvisational piano and keyboard player.
Life and career
Richard Carr was born in St. Louis. He took his first formal piano lessons at the age of six, at his parents' initiative, while attending a Catholic primary school. Richard started improvising at age 11 and wrote his first song at 12. During high school he played French horn and also played then-popular songs of Billy Joel, Elton John or Emerson, Lake & Palmer. He attended Benedictine College in Kansas from 1980 to 1982 as a Business/Accounting major. In college, he played French horn, euphonium, trumpet, and mallet percussion for the university bands. For the next three years, he attended Southern Illinois University and earned earned Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory/Composition. From 1985 to 1990 he attended University of North Texas doing graduate study in Music Composition. From 1990 to 1993 he went to the University of the Pacific where he earned a Master's degree in Sports Management.
While living in Bayou St. John, New Orleans and performing in the French Quarter's night clubs, hotels and restaurants since 1995, Richard Carr was displaced by the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and had to move back to his native St. Louis. Richard now spends part of his time teaching piano as an artist-in-residence at the Midwest Music Conservatory in Ballwin. From 2011, he volunteered to perform his music during the Silent Unity prayer services of the Unity Church, at the request of his friend, Rev. Blaine Tinsley.
Beginning on May 1, 2011, Richard Carr started the "Year Of Music" project, releasing an original composition by himself each day for an entire year via SoundCloud and his personal website. The first year ended on April 30, 2012, when his published music records amounted to 45 hours. The second round began on September 1, 2012, and ran through August 30, 2013. The project is still under way, published as monthly playlists.
Much of Richard Carr's work as a composer is indicative of classical influences, particularly those of George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Also, modern composers like John Adams, Keith Jarrett, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and George Winston have influenced his creations. His improvisational composition style draws on his classical music training, jazz and pop familiarity and it had earned praise for its rich harmonies and melodic line. Most of his recordings are improvised in the studio and are generally without edits.
Richard Carr has been recording ever since 1997. His first album has been "Through the Mind’s Eye", followed by "Fogland" in 1998, which remains his best selling album. "An American Quixote" inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' chivalrous and misled hero got released in 1999, presented without edits to maintain the integrity of the moment the pieces were recorded. "Christmas Fireside" and "When Soul & Heart Collide" were both released in 2000 and achieved 4th place in New Age Voice's Top 100 radio charts. "American Reflection" (released in 2001) is a tribute to the 225th anniversary of United States being an independent nation. By 2002 he released "Crystalline Christmas", which featured several tracks created on synthesizer. In 2003 came "Momente Intimate", featuring ten tracks improvised in the studio over the previous two-year period, capturing the musical ideas as they were born. "At Heaven’s Edge", released in 2003, featured again the synthesizer in a meditative ambient / space music release. "Christmastide", released in 2005, was the last album recorded while Richard was living in New Orleans. It reached 10th place in the Zone Music Reporter’s Radio 100 for December 2005.
During 2003-2004 he collaborated with Native American musician Bradford Smith, recording together with Smith playing the flute and Richard the keyboard. The resulting album "Dimensional Interplay" has only been released in 2008.
After relocation back to St. Louis after Hurricane Katrina, Richard has explored the synthesizer-based music more in depth, creating a trilogy of albums: "Becoming Aware", "Journey to Light", and "The Clearing".
He launched in 2013 the album "Soul Rekindled", conceived as a musical glimpse into his spiritual journey after Hurricane Katrina.