Richard was born in Yorkton Saskatchewan, but since he moved with his family to Calgary before he was even a year old, he considers himself a “near native” of Calgary. Richard began his violin studies with Eileen Atkinson, principal second violin of the CPO and one of the original members of the orchestra since its founding. Later teachers included Dr. Lise Elson, Steven Staryk, and Moshe Hammer.
In 1972 Richard played an audition for the Congress of Strings, an orchestral training program held in the summer in Los Angeles. The adjudicator for this audition was the conductor at that time of the CPO, Maurice Handford. Mr. Handford awarded him the position at the Congress and also offered Richard a contract with the CPO. Of course, Richard accepted.