Richard Larson, Conductor Emeritus of Kantorei, has been involved in community music and music education for over thirty years and is in demand as a clinician, conductor, and teacher. Named “Choral Conductor of the Year,” in 1989 by the Colorado ACDA, Mr. Larson taught music both at the University of Northern Colorado and at Metropolitan State College in Denver. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and a Masters in Music Education from the University of Colorado Boulder. Mr. Larson has studied conducting with Otto Werner Mueller, Elizabeth Green, John Nelson, Julius Herford, Richard Westenberg and Margaret Hillis, among others.
Formerly the Fine Arts Department Chair and Director of Choral Activities at Chaparral High School in Parker, Colorado, Mr. Larson began his choral career as Music Department Coordinator and choral music educator in Austin, Minnesota, where he also served as music director of the 80 member Austin Symphony Orchestra. From 1982 to 1995, Mr. Larson led the choral and orchestral music programs at Cherry Creek High School in Englewood, Colorado. Under his direction, the Cherry Creek Meistersingers performed at the 1988 and 1994 regional ACDA conventions, the 1989 national ACDA, and the 1990 National MENC in Washington, DC. His Meistersingers toured in Mexico, China, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Eastern Europe, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the British Isles.
During his tenure with the choir, Mr. Larson and Kantorei performed at the 2002 Southwestern regional ACDA convention, the 2003 National ACDA convention in New York, and the 2004 Colorado ACDA conference in Denver. In 2006, Mr. Larson was honored by Luther College as the first ever recipient of the Weston H. Noble award recognizing excellence in the field of choral music. In June of 2007, Mr. Larson led Kantorei on its first-ever international tour to France and Italy, culminating with the distinct honor of singing for Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
More recently, Mr. Larson and Kantorei have been featured in several Regional and National conferences, including the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention and the 2010 Southwestern Regional ACDA convention. In March 2011, Kantorei performed by invitation at its second National ACDA Convention, held in Chicago. The performance marked Mr. Larson’s third invitation to the ACDA National Convention, a landmark acheivement in the world of choral conducting.
After 16 years of leading the ensemble, Larson stepped down from his position as Artistic Director and Conductor of Kantorei following the 2012-2013 concert season. During his final concerts, Larson was awarded the designation of Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus for the choir.