Richard C. Alston is an elegant and exciting virtuoso pianist who has garnered international praise for his passion and technical mastery at the keyboard. His charming and charismatic personality warms audiences and Richard is known for his diverse repertoire and for his commitment to showcase historical works by Afro-American and Afro-European composers.
A native of East Orange, New Jersey, Alston received his first piano lessons from Dorothy Early. By the age of eight, Richard was performing piano and organ recitals for the First Baptist Church in Vaux Hall, New Jersey. He continued his music studies with Sylvia Rabinof in New York City. Richard received his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from The Juilliard School of Music where he studied with Irwin Freundlich and Josef Raieff. Richard was later awarded the highly prestigious Maria Guerra Judelson Scholarship for piano performance and returned to Juilliard to complete his Master of Music degree. Since his teens, Richard Alston captivated audiences through his solo recitals, guest artist concerti appearances, live opera performances, radio and television featured broadcasts and his oeuvre of compact disc and digital recordings.
Richard Alston gave his debut at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center at the age of 17 performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb Minor, opus 23.
In recent years, Richard Alston has particularly drawn the attention of the musical world, educators and college and university students for bringing awareness to the great contributions to classical music by composers of African descent. Richard not only performs exquisite piano works of these composers that remain to this day tragically relatively known to the larger public, but has also delighted audiences with musicology lectures and master classes in his celebrated series: Classically Black: Composers of African Descent.
Richard Alston enjoys the art and craft of research and take great pride in unearthing marvelous works by great composers as well as lesser known artists who deserve greater recognition. This eclectic pianist thus goes beyond exclusively performing the traditional classics of the "greats" but celebrates his African heritage stirring interest in the performance of composers of African descent.
Recently retired as tenured Professor of Music and Coordinator of the Performing Arts at Essex County College, Richard enjoys a quiet and creative life with his life partner, and continues enjoying performing internationally and recording albums. Richard Alston has also served as a faculty member of Rutgers University, Newark Campus, on the Board of Music Advisors for Westminster Choir College's Education Opportunity Program and formerly, as a member of The Juilliard School of Music's "Music Advancement Program" faculty.
In the Metropolitan Opera's revival of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Alston brought an unforgettable sense of well-researched authenticity to the role of Jasbo Brown; the choreography included his opening piano solo depicting the legendary charisma of the man after whom the "Jazz" genre is believed to be named. Richard repeated his portrayal of Jasbo Brown in the historic production presented by The New Jersey State Opera at Symphony Hall, Newark, New Jersey. Live performances of this caliber included concerts at Weill Recital Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City.
As a special artist with the New Jersey Symphony, Alston performed in a special concert in commemoration of the birth of William Grant Still. Alston also enjoys performing chamber works. As a guest artists with the Harlem Chamber Players, Richard performed in two separate concerts.
Alston is the recipient of numerous awards and honors: Award for Excellence from the New Jersey Education Association, Community Leaders Fostering Chang in Education Award from the New Jersey Unit of the National Association of Negro Business and Women's Clubs Inc., Achievement Award from the National Association of Negro Women, Musician of the Year from the National Association of Negro Musicians (Newark, NJ Chapter), Special Proclamation from the office of the major of the city of East Orange, and Honors by the Historical Society of East Orange, New Jersey.
Richard Alston's video of Troubled Water by Margaret Bonds was selected as the Alumni Video of the month of January, 2015.
Recently, Richard Alston performed Anton Rubenstein's Piano Concerto no. 4 with the University City Symphony Orchestra in Saint Louis, Missouri (Fall, 2017). He also performed solo recitals at the University of Tulsa, Rutgers University , Camden and for the West Jersey Chamber Music Society.
Professor Richard C. Alston is Minister of Music at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church in Plainfield, New Jersey. Richard Alston performed at Carnegie Hall during the Tribute to Sylvia Olden Lee.
Richard Alston is currently available for solo piano, chamber, guest artist-concerto, and lecture concerts in the United States and abroad. He also continue to tour with his Classically Black series and is currently working on a new album.
Richard is also a sought after classical piano coach of advanced artists and maintains a select group of classical piano students for coaching out of his home studio. Call for audition requirements.
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