Internationally acclaimed contemporary performing artist, composer, educator, author and journalist, he is recognized worldwide as a primary exponent and disseminator of Brazilian music, he has led original music ensembles for forty years and presenting extensively as a solo artist-educator. solo venues include B.B. King's Latin Guitar Festival (Blue Note Jazz Festival) and guest master class Brazilian Guitar Panorama at the prestigious classical guitar conference New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes College / New School University College of the Performing Arts.
Since 2008, Boukas is composer-leader of Brazilian Jazz ensemble Quarteto Moderno, showcasing his compositions across a panorama of authentic genres. Featuring saxophonist Lucas Pino, bassist Gustavo Amarante and drummer Maurício Zottarelli, ensemble performances include Hudson Hall Jazz Festival, Lehman College Johnny Pacheco Latin Jazz Festival, Branford Jazz Festival (CT), Queens College Year of Brazil and many appearances at the New Americans Program at New York Public Library. In 2016, the ensemble released its debut CD, QUARTETO MODERNO LIVE! AO VIVO!
In 2016 he formed Diálogos Duo with French clarinetist/bass clarinetist Louis Arques. The Duo has released two CDs: Homages to Brazilian Masters (2018) and Choro Tributes (2020), whose premiere performance was presented by the New York City Classical Guitar Society.
The Duo's complete repertoire composed by Boukas consists of 66 movements (7 suites), the largest body of contemporary Brazilian music composed for clarinet (bass clarinet) and guitar. In 2019, the Duo presented a featured concert at the annual ClarinetFest of the International Clarinet Association in Knoxville, TN.
Diálogos Duo works by Boukas are receiving international recognition by elite guitarists and clarinetists:
João Luiz of Brasil Guitar Duo: "I am certain that Boukas's present and future works will be a perennial contribution to contemporary clarinet-guitar literature." Italian clarinet virtuoso
Alessandro Carbonare: "His extensive knowledge of various Brazilian musical styles and great gift for composing now offers us a broader repertoire of tremendous value."
Diálogos Duo is also presenting numerous in-person and virtual artist residencies at universities including Mannes/New School for the Performing Arts.
Boukas is also founder and leader of Trio Brasileiro (with Amarante and Zottarelli) and Duo Brasileiro (with Amarante). Their repertoire features original compositions, classics from the Brazilian Songbook (MPB) and the rich solo Brazilian guitar tradition from Garôto to Guinga.
His prior acclaimed Duo collaborations have been with pianist-composer Jovino Santos Neto (formerly of Hermeto Pascoal Group) which recorded the CD Balaio and Croatian tambura virtuoso Filip Novosel (CD/DVD, Live at St. Micheal's).
Visit the ENSEMBLES page and dedicated pages for:
Richard's other recordings as leader include Amazôna, Embarcadero and Commitment. He also produced the landmark recording Tudo de Bom, featuring the landmark Hermeto Pascoal's historical collection, Calendário do Som. Richard is also featured vocalist-percussionist, composer-arranger with Panamericana Big Band (directed by Gary Morgan) since 2008.
In 2013-14 he produced and presented several events to commemorate the Queens College Year of Brazil, including the opening concert by Quarteto Moderno, his Brazilian Choral Project for the Queens College Vocal Ensemble and lectures on different aspects of Brazilian music.
A heralded faculty member at New York City’s internationally reknown New School University College of Performing Arts / School of Jazz since 1995 and former faculty at Mannes College and William Paterson University, he founded and directed the Brazilian Jazz and Brazilian Choro Ensembles. He also teaches Improvisation Ensembles, Ear Training, and Guitar Sightreading,
In 2010 he received the prestigious New School University Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2011 was faculty representative at the IASJ Convention (International Association for Jazz Schools) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Boukas has produced, arranged and presented numerous landmark Brazilian music projects at New School for Performing Arts:
• Sempre Jacob Centennial Tribute (Jacob do Bandolim, 2017)
• Viva Hermeto! (celebrating Hermeto Pascoal's 80th birthday, 2016)
• Pixinguinha and Contemporaries (2014)
• Ernesto Nazareth 150th Birthday Tribute (2013)
• música mineira project, featuring legendary Minas Gerais composers (2012)
In fall 2015, he joined the professional faculty at New York Jazz Workshop, where he teaches classes, guest workshops and private lessons.
A four-time recipient of the NEA Grant in Jazz Performance, his many guest artist residencies include Harvard, Cornell, Lamont School of Music/Denver, Cincinnati Conservatory, Univ. Louisville, Univ. Toronto, Univ. Arizona/Tucson and National Guitar Workshop.
His first significant trip to Brazil was in 1998 as guest artist-professor at Campos do Jordão Festival do Inverno in São Paulo. He has returned frequently to perform with numerous Brazilian artists, present educational residencies and conduct scholarly research.
Richard holds an MA in Composition from Queens College/Aaron Copland School of Music, for which he presented his thesis on the music of Hermeto Pascoal. Aside from his diverse Brazilian jazz repertoire, he has composed numerous commissioned chamber works for ensembles including La Catrina String Quartet, PUBLIQuartet String Quartet, World String Orchestra of Berklee College, Modern Mandolin Quartet, Atlantic Brass Quintet, Lamont Saxophone Quartet, Morningside Chamber Ensemble and Panamericana Big Band. He has also composed the work Embolada for Sopros de PE, acclaimed clarinet quartet from Pernambuco, Brazil.
Boukas has also created numerous Brazilian choral arrangements based on the music of Milton Nascimento, Sérgio Santos, Guinga, Radamés Gnattali and Ernesto Nazareth. These pieces were premiered by the Queens College Vocal Ensemble and are generating the interest of major choirs in Brazil and beyond. He has also created over twenty Beatles Motets which have been performed by Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble. He has also composed an extensive body of solo Brazilian guitar music including the seven-movement Guinga Suite.
Apart from his own creative and academic work, he is a veteran Broadway and studio musician/producer, and an endorsing artist-consultant for LaBella Strings since 1980. He is also a composer and ensemble (Diálogos Duo) member of Chamber Music America.