Internationally acclaimed contemporary performing artist, composer, educator, author and journalist, he has led original music ensembles for forty years and performed itinerantly as a solo artist. A virtuoso guitarist and vocalist, he is recognized as one of today's most important exponents and advocates of Brazilian music. He has performed as a solo guitarist/vocalist at noted venues including B.B. King's Latin Guitar Festival (Blue Note Jazz Festival) and Global Guitar Fest at Subrosa. In 2016 he presented 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 Quarteto Moderno which showcases his diverse Brazilian Jazz compositions. Featuring saxophonist Lucas Pino, bassist Gustavo Amarante and drummer Maurício Zottarelli, the ensemble's 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!
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 including those by Minas Gerais composers Milton Nascimento,Toninho Horta, Sérgio Santos; and the Brazilian acoustic guitar lineage from Garôto to Guinga.
In 2016 he formed Diálogos Duo with French clarinetist/bass clarinetist Louis Arques. The duo has presented and recorded two seven-movement cycles also called Diálogos. Two new multi-movement cycles will be presented in 2019: Século (eight movements) and Uma Dúzia de Choros-Homenagens (a dozen Choro tributes)– which total thirty-four (34) pieces written for the ensemble.
His prior acclaimed Duo collaborations have been with Latin Grammy-nominated 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 QUARTETO MODERNO, DIÁLOGOS BRAZILIAN DUO, TRIO BRASILEIRO.
Richard's other recordings as leader include Amazôna, Embarcadero and Commitment. He also produced the landmark recording Tudo de Bom, dedicated to 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 directs the Brazilian Jazz and Brazilian Choro Ensembles. He also teaches Improvisation Ensembles, Ear Training, Guitar Sightreading, Jazz Vocal and Renaissance Choral Music. 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:
• 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 in1998 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. In 2011 he and colleague Cliff Korman (former faculty at Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte) were the key driving forces in developing a student exchange program between UFMG and New School University School of Jazz.
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.
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. See his listing on the Latin American Composers database.
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.
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