Bill Richards

Bill (William Francis Caven) Richards. Violinist, composer, arranger, editor, b Ottawa 28 Mar 1923, d Scarborough, Ont, 28 Feb 1995.

Bill Richards

Bill (William Francis Caven) Richards. Violinist, composer, arranger, editor, b Ottawa 28 Mar 1923, d Scarborough, Ont, 28 Feb 1995. In Ottawa Bill Richards studied piano with Herbert Sanders and violin with David Shuttleworth and Jack Cavill; in Toronto he continued his violin studies with Broadus Farmer in 1939, with Elie Spivak in 1946, and with Albert Pratz in the mid-1950s. Richards began his professional career at eight playing violin solos on Ottawa and Hull radio stations. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942 and was a featured performer and orchestra member 1943-5 in Meet the Navy.

Richards subsequently made his career in Toronto studios, as a contractor and/or concertmaster of many radio, TV, and recording orchestras. He was host and arranger 1954-9 for CBC radio's 'Guest Time,' conductor and arranger 1958-9 for 'Trans-Canada Talent Show,' and music director in 1959 for 'Swing Easy.' Elected to the executive of the Toronto Musicians' Association (AF of M, local 149) in 1958, he served 25 years on the board, including as assistant secretary in 1960 and 1965-77 as editor of the union's publication Crescendo. He continued his studio activities through the 1990s.

Richards' compositions include scores for the CBC's productions of Sleeping Beauty (1957), I Knock on the Door (1968), and So Great a Sweetness (1969). He also wrote a Flute Quartet (1964) and some fiddle tunes - two recorded by the composer for Spiral in 1957 and one heard in the Canadian feature film The Pyx. Richards made two LPs in 1962 for the Canadian Talent Library Trust (CTLS-5016 and CTLS-5035) with a quartet featuring the organist Lou Snider. He can be heard on recordings by Moe Koffman, Catherine McKinnon, Anne Murray, and Gordon Lightfoot.

See also Judi Richards (his daughter).


Further Reading

  • 'Ottawa-born musician Bill Richards dies at 71,' Ottawa Citizen, 1 Mar 1995

    'Obituaries: Bill Richards,' Crescendo, May/June 1995

External Links