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Richard Boldrey is well known as a pianist, vocal coach, conductor, professor, and author. In 1960 he began a long tenure as a pianist for the Chicago Symphony Chorus, culminating in becoming the assistant conductor of the chorus from 1972 to 1977. In 1964, he was pianist, organist, timpanist, and assistant conductor for the Robert Shaw Chorale on tours in the United States and South America. He has been pianist in several chamber groups, including the Delft Trio, which performed at Carnegie Hall, and the Buccheri-Boldrey piano duo, which made two commercial recordings in the 1970s. In 1977 he soloed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Carlo Maria Giulini. He was harpsichordist and organist with Chicago Music of the Baroque from 1977 to 1985. He has accompanied many singers in recital, including world-renowned artists Sherrill Milnes, Robert Merrill, June Anderson and Grace Bumbry, and has accompanied violinists and cellists on tours of Europe, Central America, and South America. He was also Music Director of Kol Zimrah from 2006 to 2015, and has been Choir Director at Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism for more than a decade.
Boldrey has been involved in the opera world for about forty years. He was a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago staff from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1993 to 2003, as pianist, backstage organist, coach, and assistant conductor. He served as maestro and assistant to Carlo Bergonzi at the Bel Canto Festival in Busseto, Italy, 1983 through 1985. He was head of the Opera Department at the University of Illinois from 1989 to 1990, Music Director of the summer Colorado Lyric Theatre Festival in Boulder from 1989 to 1992, and Music Director of the Opera Department at the University of Colorado from 1990 to 1993. He was also Music Director of Opera Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1991 to 1995, and was on the staff of the Voice and Opera Department at the University of Iowa from 1997 to 1999. He conducted Lucia di Lammermoor, Le Nozze di Figaro, and La Traviata for L’Opera Piccola in Chicago. He is author of Guide to Operatic Roles and Arias and Guide to Operatic Duets. He has been a Professor at Northwestern University since 1995, where he is a vocal coach and a lecturer in the Opera Department.