Internationally acclaimed contemporary performing artist, composer, educator, author and journalist, he has led original music ensembles for almost 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 (part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival) and Global Guitar Fest at Subrosa. In July 2016 he was guest artist-educator at the prestigious classical guitar conference, New York Guitar Seminar, presented by Mannes College / New School.
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 has performed extensively in the metro New York City area including concerts at Hudson Hall Jazz Festival, Lehman College Johnny Pacheco Latin Jazz Festival (see video), Queens College Year of Brazil and the New Americans Program at New York Public Library. They were also featured recently at the Hudson Hall Jazz Festival in Hudson, N.Y.
In June of 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). Their repertoire features original compositions, those by Minas Gerais composers Milton Nascimento,Toninho Horta, Sérgio Santos; the Brazilian acoustic guitar lineage from Garôto to Guinga and classics from the Brazilian Songbook.
His most important Duo collaborations have been with Latin Grammy-nominated pianist-composer Jovino Santos Neto (formerly of Hermeto Pascoal Group) which recorded the CD Balaio, Croatian tambura virtuoso Filip Novosel (CD and DVD, Live at St. Micheal's in 2013), and in fall 2016 formed Diálogos Brazilian Duo with French clarinetist Louis Arques. The duo recently premiered two seven-movement cycles of pieces for Clarinet/Bass Clarinet and Guitar also called Diálogos. He also has a chamber music duo with virtuoso cellist Wendy Law.
Visit ENSEMBLES and subpages for QUARTETO MODERNO, DIÁLOGOS BRAZILIAN DUO, TRIO BRASILEIRO.
Boukas 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 (based on pieces by Milton Nascimento, Sérgio Santos, Guinga, Radamés Gnattali and Ernesto Nazareth), and lectures on different aspects of Brazilian music.
Richard's other recordings as leader include Amazôna, Embarcadero and Commitment.
In 2002, Boukas produced the landmark recording Tudo de Bom, dedicated to Hermeto Pascoal's historical collection, Calendário do Som.
A multifaceted artist-faculty member at New York City’s reknown New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music 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 annual IASJ Convention (International Association for Jazz Schools) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Boukas has presented expansive Brazilian music projects at NSJCM. In 2012, he produced and directed the música mineira project, featuring heralded Minas Gerais composers. As director/arranger of the New School Brazilian Choro Ensemble, he produced the Tribute to Ernesto Nazareth (150-year celebration) in 2013, in fall 2014 Pixinguinha and Contemporaries and Sempre Jacob Centennial Tribute (Jacob do Bandolim) in 2017. In 2016, he produced "Viva Hermeto!" for the Brazilian Jazz Ensemble in commemoration of Hermeto Pascoal's 80th birthday.
In fall 2015, he joined the professional faculty and New York Jazz Workshop, where he teaches classes, guest workshops and private lessons. In July 2016, he presented the comprehensive master class Brazilian Guitar Panorama at the prestigious New York Guitar Seminar held at Mannes College/New School.
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 trip to Brazil was as guest artist-professor at Campos do Jordão Festival do Inverno in São Paulo. He has returned since to perform with numerous Brazilian artists, teach and conduct archival research. In 2011 he and colleague Cliff Korman (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 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 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 have been premiered by the Queens College Vocal Ensemble and are generating the interest of major choirs in Brazil. He has also created over twenty Beatles Motets, which have been premiered by Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble. Richard 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 (Quarteto Moderno) member of Chamber Music America.
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