Richard Chiarappa is the founding music director of the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He was formerly the music director of the Bristol Symphony Orchestra from 1991-2002.
Mr. Chiarappa studied orchestral conducting with Vytautus Marijosius, choral conducting with Gerald Mack and composition with Arnold Franchetti at the Hartt School. He has done advanced study in conducting workshops under the guidance of Maestros Gustav Meier and Raymond Harvey.
As a composer, he has just finished his new, one-act opera, The Miraculous Staircase. Prior to that was “Uncle Sal’s Cello,” a work for orchestra and narrator for family audiences. His “Gettysburg Address,” also for orchestra and narrator (published by Wendel Music of NYC), was recently performed by the Knoxville Symphony and Rockford Symphony Orchestras. His novelty work entitled “Romp for Symphony Orchestra and (Celebrity) Triangulist” (also published by Wendel Music) has been performed by the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and the Manassas Symphony Orchestra with an upcoming November performance by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. With a commission in the spring of 2008 from the Noah Webster House Museum of West Hartford, Chiarappa composed “Noah’s National Language” in honor of Noah Webster’s 250th anniversary. The piece is written for orchestra, chorus, narrator and actor. In 2002 Chiarappa wrote an arrangement in four distinct musical styles for orchestra entitled “Happy, Happy Birthday” that was specially written for the “birth” of the WHSO. All are available for purchase or rental and have been premiered by the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
In 2001 Mr. Chiarappa founded the Internet business, “newmusicals.com,” intended to promote new works in musical theatre internationally. His most recent musical is The Silver Whistle, a musical comedy based on the play by Robert McEnroe which ran on Broadway in 1948 and starred José Ferrer. That show was preceded by “Brandenburgh,” a musical farce based on a Mark Twain short story, which was named a semi-finalist in the 2001 McLaren Comedy Play Writing Competition in Texas. In 1997 a CD and professional VHS were made of his musical, “Lincoln & Booth.” Other works in musical theatre as composer include a collaboration with playwright, Terry Ortwein, on the “cult” musical farce, “I was a Teenage Werewolf for the Third Reich,” and a musical geared for high schools entitled “Hoop,” co-written with his wife, Martha, now published by Eldridge Plays & Musicals in Tallahassee, Florida.
Since 1979 Mr. Chiarappa has been a faculty member of Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, where he is director of the KO String Orchestra, the KO Jazz Ensemble, and the annual school musical. He has also been musical director/pianist of the Madison Beach Club’s annual “Follies” since 1981. Mr. Chiarappa is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild, MENC, and CMEA, as well as the League of American Orchestras and Conductors Guild. He resides with his wife in West Hartford. They have two grown daughters.