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Franko Richmond (Piano)

Born:1949 (?)
Died: January 9, 2009 - Key West, Florida, USA

The American pianist, composer, teacher, Franko Richmond, was the son of Logan Allen Richmond and the late Eloisa D'Agostino of Williamsport, Pa. His first piano teacher was his mother, a great lover of classical music. He began his lifelong love affair with music and the piano as a child prodigy and international competition pianist, performing in Carnegie Hall and on tour in the USA. By the time he entered college, he and his two brothers, all three classically trained pianists and known as the Richmond Brothers, had appeared in nearly 500 concerts. Franko Richmond was protege of both classical concert pianist Earl Wild and the great international jazz legend Ahmad Jamal.

Like many another contemporary musician, Franko Richmond's artistry was deeply rooted in the classics. In 1970 he presented a formal, all classical recital at Penn State University. Shortly thereafter the entire program was privately recorded, and recently that recording was released in CD form. At age 23, he made an historic appearance as the guest soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue under the baton of conductor, Antal Doráti. Unfortunately, very few of his legions of admirers have ever heard him in the classical repertoire. He was known as a supremely gifted all-around musician and composer, blessed with an immense technique and an endless supply of melodic invention in the modern pop, Latin and jazz idioms. Moreover, he has taken elements from all of them and forged a personal keyboard style which he likes to call "world fusion", something distinctly and recognizably his own.

During his twenty years as the resident pianist at the international Hotel Thayer in West Point, New York, Franko Richmond's remarkable career featured appearances with major orchestras and concerts at Eisenhower Hall with stars including Dizzy Gillespie, Red Skelton, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Cosby and Dinah Shore. He also did cabaret theatre productions, jazz clubs, Woodstock anniversary concerts and special events. His performances abroad include Sydney, Australia; Naples, Italy; Istanbul, Turkey; Manaus (in the Amazon region) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil among other places.

His environmental theme song, The Time Has Come, received world-wide television coverage to 50 countries and was sung in Portuguese, Spanish and English by 150 international students who were re-foresting an area of the Amazon Rainforest as part of the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Brazil. The Time Has Come was chosen as the first ever theme title and song for the 25th anniversary of Earth Day in the USA and abroad by the president, board and staff at Earth Day, USA in New Hampshire and Earth Day Int'l in California.

Franko Richmond was listed in the prestigious roster of internationally recognized Steinway Artists, published by Hal Leonard and registered with BMI. He was a recording artist and had co-authored three Broadway shows; one with Tom Chiodo and Galen Blum, Adventures in the Great Beyond, which ran off-Broadway at the Harold Klurman Theater in NY; his second with Dr. Alice Kahn Ladas, Run for Your Life, in New York and Chicago; and, his most recent collaboration with Hollywood TV writer Blake Hunter (Who's the Boss?) is Mavis and the Three Bears, a musical fable produced at The Red Barn Theatre in Key West, Florida. He wrote a movie score and had 10 CD recordings of his various styles of music that run the gamut from classical, jazz and Latin, originals, pop, show tunes, standards, rock and more. Franko Richmond taught at the Florida Keys Community College and had many private students. He and his producer/artist wife, Gail Lima lived in Key West.

After a three-and-a-half-year battle with cancer, Franko Richmond died in January 2009 at his home, with his wife Gail Lima by his side. He was 60. He is survived by brothers Norman Richmond and Dennis Richmond; son Ivan Richmond; and grandchildren Isabella, age 6, and Javier, 4.

Source: Franko Richmond Website (2008); Obituary in Keys Net (January 2009); Liner noted to the CD 'Classical Concert' (Author: Carl Richards)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2009)

Franko Richmond: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Franko Richmond (Official Website)
Franko Richmond Obituary (Keys Net)

My Life in Key West (Blog) [2009]
Music at Pen Alps: Franko Richmond

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
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