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Richard Hayman (Conductor)

Born: March 27, 1920 - Cambridge, Massachusetts

Richard (Warren Joseph) Hayman, is an American conductor, harmonica player, arranger, and composer. He received training in composition from Alfred Newman and Max Steiner, and in conducting from Arthur Fiedler.

In 1938, at the age of 18, Richard Hayman launched his career as a harmonica player. He began touring the country with the well-known harmonica group, the Borrah Minevitch Harmonica Rascals. Hired as a musician, he was soon writing all the music for this large ensemble. Then he went with Leo Diamond when Diamond left to form the Solidaires. Soon he began working as a composer and arranger for Hollywood film studios. Early in his career, while orchestrating and arranging for various singers and performers in the Las Vegas and Hollywood areas, his unique style of writing and arranging caught the ear of MGM Studios musical director, Georgie Stoll, who put Hayman to work orchestrating for such pictures as Girl Crazy (with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney), Meet Me in St. Louis (again with Garland) and As Thousands Cheer. Along with arranging some of the music, he also appeared in the films Coney Island and Sweet Rosie O’Grady (both starring Betty Grable) for Twentieth Century Fox and Always In My Heart (with Walter Houston and Kay Francis) for Warner Brothers. While in Hollywood, he further advanced his knowledge of the art of composing and conducting film music through studies with many notable giants, including Alfred Newman at Twentieth Century Fox, Victor Young at Paramount, Georgie Stoll and Herbert Stothart at MGM, and Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold at Warner Brothers.

A trip back to his home in Boston led to Richard Hayman joining the then-popular Vaughn Monroe Orchestra as musical director for Monroe’s recordings and television and radio show, a very successful collaboration that lasted five years (1945-1950). During this time, Hayman also began to direct the musical activities of various recording artists. The sparkling background musical arrangements for these recordings resulted in the Mercury Record Corporation signing him to an exclusive recording contract. The successful recordings that followed soon placed the young maestro in the musical major leagues. He took what was considered to be just an ordinary theme for the motion picture Ruby Gentry, and, through his specially stylised arrangements, utilising a harmonica as the solo instrument with a large, quasi-symphonic orchestra, it zoomed to the top of the hit parade all over the world. Ruby broke every success record in the books, and brought about a renewed interest in the harmonica, an interest that has continued throughout the years with everything from rock groups to full symphony orchestras. Ruby recently was featured on the soundtrack of Barbara Streisand’s film The Mirror Has Two Faces in a new version recorded by Hayman, arranged and conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. He worked a variety of jobs, including assistant arranger on Meet Me in St. Louis, and soloist with Horace Heidt before he won a contract under his own name with Mercury in 1950. Mercury Records then appointed him as its Artists and Repertoire Chief in New York, and musical director for the recording activities of their many artists (including Vic Damone and Patti Page), a post he held until 1965. Hayman's Mercury productions were dramatic and passionate, and often featured his harmonica work.

After arranging and conducting a strings album with jazz saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Hayman dropped out of the recording scene for much of the 1960's, then reappeared on Command label late in its run, after Enoch Light had departed to found Project 3. The highlight of Hayman's Command days was the much-coveted early Moog album, The Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine. He was music director of Time-Mainstream Records from 1960 to 1970 (or from 1963 to 1980). Much of his efforts were devoted to his work with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He was the backbone of the Pops arranging staff, and he often served as a back-up conductor for Arthur Fiedler. He appeared annually as a featured conductor, usually bringing out his harmonica for one showcase number. He returned to recording in the 1970's, and a number of his later albums, featuring mostly light classical and popular orchestral works, are still available on CD. As a guest conductor, he found his niche as a purveyor of light musical fare with various North American orchestras.

Considered as America’s favourite “Pops” conductor, Richard Hayman is Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony and Conductor of Florida’s Sunshine Pops. He has also held Principal Pops Conductor posts with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic and Orchestra London Canada. His original compositions are standards in the repertoire of these ensembles, as well as frequently performed selections for many bands and orchestras throughout the world. For over thirty years, he served as the chief arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra during Arthur Fiedler’s tenure, providing special arrangements for dozens of their hit albums and famous singles. Under John Williams’ and Keith Lockhart’s direction, the orchestra continues to program his award-winning arrangements and orchestrations.

During the past several years, Richard Hayman has been concentrating most of his time on guest-conducting special Pops concerts. Season after season he is re-invited by all of the leading orchestras across the continent to conduct these popular entertainments during their regular seasons, as well as for their summer festivals. Richard Hayman has recently recorded a series of compact discs on the Naxos International label, having also recorded extensively for Audio Fidelity Records. His first album, entitled “Ruby”, includes a new version of this million-selling hit song, while a second disc, “At the Pops”, with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, features the original 1953 arrangement. Most recent releases on the Bainbridge label include four albums of Richard Hayman and the Manhattan Pops Orchestra.

Richard Hayman’s work is in constant demand in every medium of musical expression from Boston to Hollywood. Though more involved with the symphony orchestra circuit, he has served as musical director and/or master of ceremonies for the tour shows of many popular entertainers: Bob Hope, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Olivia Newton-John, Mac Davis, Chet Atkins, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Red Skelton, Mike Douglas, Brenda Lee, The Carpenters, The Osmonds, Johnny Carson, Al Hirt, Eddie Arnold, Andy Williams, Jimmy Dean, Roy Clark, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Pat Boone, Andy Griffith, Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh-In”, Bobby Vinton and many others. “Richard Hayman and His Orchestra” have been presented on 23 albums and 27 hit singles by Mercury Records. Time Records has presented the Manhattan Pops Orchestra in 14 albums conducted and arranged by Richard Hayman. Various artists all over the world have recorded dozens of Hayman’s original compositions. He has also arranged and conducted recordings for more than 50 stars of the motion picture, stage, radio and television worlds.

In television, Richard Hayman has been responsible for the music for innumerable series, specials, documentaries and commercials. Most recently he orchestrated the music for the PBS series based on the writings of Mark Twain, of which one episode, “Life on the Mississippi”, was recorded by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. (This was the first time that a major symphony orchestra was used for a television recording.) Hayman has also scored Broadway shows and numerous motion pictu. In 1960, Richard Hayman was honoured with his own star in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Other awards have included a Certificate of Recognition from Cosmopolitan Magazine for Achievement in Bettering Popular Music, a Certificate of Merit for the Secretary of the Navy, the Edison Award for Creative Achievement in Recorded Arts from the Academy of Musical Recorded Arts and Sciences, the National TV Festival and Forum Award, and the Maile Award from the State of Hawaii for outstanding contribution in the furthering of Hawaiian tourism and the promotion of Hawaiian music throughout the USA and Canada.

Source: Space Age Pop Music Website; Kaylor Management Website (February 2006); Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2006)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Richard Hayman


Aria from BWV 208

Links to other Sites

Kaylor Management, Inc. - Richard Hayman

Richard Hayman (Space Age Pop Music)

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