Richard Weiner is the former Principal Percussionist of The Cleveland Orchestra. Hired by George Szell in 1963, he was appointed principal in 1968 where he led the section for 43 years. In 2011 he received The Cleveland Orchestra Distinguished Service Award presented yearly to a person or persons to recognize extraordinary service to The Cleveland Orchestra. Since his retirement in 2011, Richard continues to occasionally perform with the orchestra and remains an active faculty member at The Cleveland Institute of Music a position he has held since 1963. Richard received a B.S. in Education from Temple University in 1962, a Masters in Music with Distinction from Indiana University in 1963, and was the first percussionist to be honored with the Performer’s Certificate Award. He also holds a Juris Doctor in Law magna cum laude from Cleveland State University. Former teachers include Charles Owen (Temple University), The Philadelphia Orchestra principal percussionist and George Gaber (Indiana University), renowned New York Timpanist/Percussionist.
In 1962, Richard was a scholarship student at the Aspen Festival School and a member of the Aspen Festival Orchestra where he played solo xylophone in the American premires of Olivier Messiaen’s Oixeaux Exotiques, and Reveil des Oiseaux with Messiaen in attendance for a Conference on Contemporary Music. He was a member of the Chautauqua Summer Symphony in 1964 and has been on faculty at Oberlin College. As a percussion clinician, Richard has presented symphonic percussion clinics and labs at the Percussion Arts Society International Convention and is a faculty artist in residence at The National Orchestral Institute at The University of Maryland. Additionally, he has been a seminar participant and coach at The New World Symphony, and editor and contributing editor of the PAS Symphonic Percussion column in Percussive Notes. Richard can be heard on many acclaimed recordings with Maestros George Szell, Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Robert Shaw, Christoph von Dohn nyi, Franz Welser Möst, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Riccardo Chailly, as well serving as principal percussionist on three heralded Telarc recordings of The Cleveland Symphonic Winds conducted by Frederick Fennell. He has recorded most of Olivier Messiaen‘s orchestral works, Igor Stravinsky‘s Rite of Spring and L’Histoire du Soldat with Pierre Boulez, as well as performing on over 175 recordings.
Richard has also participated in over 100 world and U.S. premires and has performed in concert with George Szell, Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohn nyi, Franz Welser Möst, Robert Shaw, James Levine, Jahya Ling, Claudio Abbato, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Chailly, Andrew Davis, Colin Davis, Antal Dorati, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink, Herbert von Karajan, Erich Leinsdorf, Yoel Levi, Kurt Masur, Eugene Ormandy, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Simon Rattle, Leonard Slatkin, George Solti, Michael Tilson-Thomas, John Adams, Arthur Fiedler, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Henry Mancini and John Williams among many others. Concert tours with the Cleveland Orchestra have taken him to the Soviet Union, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Scandinavia, as well as South and Central America. Former students play or have played in symphony orchestras such as Cleveland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the National, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Santa Fe Opera, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand and Europe, as well as the Hollywood studios, Broadway and contemporary percussion ensembles such as The Percussion Group, Nexus and Steve Reich Ensemble.