ROB RICHARDS was named 2005 “Organist of the Year” by the American Theatre Organ Society, Rob’s 30th year of concerts and the Society’s 50th anniversary. His combination of technical facility, showmanship and personality has won him fans around the world. Currently, Richards is the House Organist at Disney’s historic El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. He has performed an astonishing 4,000 performances since 1999, playing the legendary Wurlitzer pipe organ originally installed in San Francisco’s Fox Theatre. He has received accolades from Variety, the Sherman Brothers (Disney Academy award-winning songwriters), and film critic Leonard Maltin. Rob has performed with many of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities, has shared the stage at events with Julie Andrews and Elton John, and has appeared on many national TV programs.
Richards’ design expertise has led to numerous collaborations on pipe, digital, and combination instruments. As product specialist with Walker Technical Company (builders of state-of-the-art digital instruments) he has created his own five manual digital theatre organ, the largest instrument of its kind in the world, which includes many innovative features, and is the equivalent of 7,000 pipes.
Career highlights include the (2004) 40th Anniversary Mary Poppins Re-premiere, with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, a concert appearance with famed pianist Liberace, playing the famous Radio City Music Hall organ in New York, and five international concert tours to England, Australia & Japan.
Richards is also a composer and arranger, writing in virtually every style from academic to pop, silent film scores and music for children’s television. In 2000 he participated in Disney’s “Wahoo Wagon,” a new children’s show at the El Capitan theatre. Richards’ new compositions are written in the style of early 1930s jazz. Passionately committed to arts programming for young people, Rob is well known for his concerts which introduce children to the theatre organ. Richards’ search continues for the perfect home and permanent installation of his five-manual digital theatre organ, and planning its first recording.