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something. (Note: you can view some of Richmond’s performances at www.youtube.com/richviola)

One of my main teachers from Yale, Mr. Jesse Levine (violist) and Mr. Stuff Smith (jazz violinist)

What other goals do you wish to accomplish as a teacher and musician? I would like to become a more nationally and internationally known artist. I have built up a good local reputation and I want to branch out. I also want to build my reputation as a teacher. (Richmund is currently the director of the Youth String Orchestra, ages 12-18 for the Black Academy of Arts and Letters) A teacher does a lot of different things. I want to be a role model and mentor and incorporate other elements to advance my career and one day build a private studio.

What musical pieces outside of the violinist or violist’s repertoire do you admire? The most memorable live performance was Richard Goode playing Beethoven’s 5th “Emperor” piano concerto; that piece is unbelievable. That performance is most memorable of any orchestra.

You’ve played in numerous venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Myerhoff Hall. Among your performances, which are the most memorable and why? The nationally televised 24th Annual Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Center: A Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. with the Black Academy of Arts and Letters. The program profiled the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through film footage, narration and musical performances at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. I performed Balm in Gilead and If I Can Help Somebody. I felt it went well. It had a good effect and I had a chance to be a spiritual messenger, which is important to me. A friend of mine called randomly from Chicago one day and said, “I’m watching t.v. and you’re on right now”. That concert symbolizes where I want to go in my career. Who is the most memorable person you have met? Denzel Washington. He told me to pray and play. When I was about to graduate, my mom got tickets for us to see him perform in Julius Caesar. My mom (Ms. Gayle Punch) called the theater to set up a meet and greet prior to the show. We were unable to meet him before the play, but the theater employees told us where we could meet him afterward. At that time, I didn’t know where I was going careerwise. Denzel told me to pray and play. I was scheduled to perform at an event at Yale where we brought our mentors. I took my viola teacher, Jesse Levine as my mentor and when I spoke, I shared with the group the advice Mr. Washington gave me; to pray and play. I took it a step further and told them to remember where you come from. Give back as a way of saying thank you to those who helped you along the way. Denzel actually wrote a book this past year about actors and their mentors. I would like to meet him again. [Washington’s book, A Hand to Guide Me was published in 2006] Who are the musicians that have inspired you? Does that inspiration find its way into your own playing?

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May/June 2007

Also, Concert for the Divas, sponsored by Arts and Letters, Inc. This concert featured black female vocalists Harolyn Blackwell, Oleta Adams, the Clark Sisters and Melba Moore. Cecily Tyson hosted. It was a mostly black orchestra and a quite extraordinary event. There was color everywhere. My three favorite songs are: Amazing Grace (John Newton), Summertime (from the musical Porgy and Bess) and For the Love of You (The Isleys). Any advice for those who want to become professional musicians? Surround yourself with a team of people to make it possible. Practice as much as you can. What was it like performing and recording with Donnie McClurkin, Richard Smallwood and others for the album "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs" in 2005? That was another powerful performance. The church we were in was a large church (a mega church) and there were 5,000 people there. It was standing room only. That’s a good CD. Actually being there was even more powerful. I’ve never performed in front of that many people before. He [Donnie McClurkin] is so genuine in his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything about him whether talking or preaching is very natural. What are your current projects? The Punch Family Foundation Benefit Recital and trying to get myself out there on a national level are my current projects. In November, I will be performing in the The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (www.tbaal.org) season of performances. For those interested in hearing you perform in the near future, where will your next performance(s) be? Jam Session at Southside on Lamar (One Friday a month) 1409 South Lamar Street, Dallas, TX. Sandaga Market Sunday Jam Session (every other Sunday at 6:30 p.m.) at Sandaga Market, 1234 Levee Street Dallas, 75207 Punch Family Foundation Benefit Recital on June 23rd . Thank you for your time, Richmond. May God continue to bless you in your future endeavors.

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