Music Director

Richard Chiarappa is the founding music director of the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra (2002). He was formerly the music director of the Bristol Symphony Orchestra from 1991-2002, as well as the former resident conductor of the Scholar-Athlete-Artist Games Orchestra, located in Kingston, RI on the University of Rhode Island campus.

As a composer, his most recent work for symphony orchestra is Elegy for Benghazi which had its premier in 2016 by the WHSO. His new works for professional and community groups as well as high school orchestras, bands and choruses are for sale on

His first on-act opera, The Miraculous Staircase, was published in June, 2013 and is available on Amazon, CD Baby and iTunes. Prior works are “Uncle Sal’s Cello” for orchestra and narrator (premiered in 2011); “The Gettysburg Address” for orchestra and narrator published by Robert Wendel Music (NYC); a commissioned work by the Noah Webster House Museum of West Hartford titled “Noah’s National Language” for orchestra, chorus, narrator and actor, and the novelty piece “Romp for Symphony Orchestra and ‘Celebrity’ Triangulist” (Robert Wendel Music). All works have been premiered by the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra. The “Gettysburg Address” has been performed by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Cape Cod SO, the Southern Illinois SO, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, the Gulf Coast SO, the Pacific SO and the Arlington SO.

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.

Now part-time in order to devote time to composing and guest conducting, Mr. Chiarappa has been a full time faculty member of Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford since 1979 where he has been the director of the choral program, the jazz band, director of the annual musical, and is currently the director of the string orchestra program. He has been musical director/pianist of the Madison Beach Club’s annual “Follies” since 1981. Mr. Chiarappa is a member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, CMEA, NAfME, as well as the League of American Orchestras and Conductors Guild. He resides with his wife in West Hartford.

They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren.