Dr. E. Michael Richards was born in New York City on May 16th, 1954. He passed away on February 18th at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Cardiac ICU. Dr. E. Michael Richards was the husband of Dr. Kazuko Tanosaki-Richards. Michael and Kazuko met at the University of California, San Diego, where they created The Tanosaki Richards Duo. This coming July (2023) will be their 40th wedding anniversary.
Raised in Bernarsville, New Jersey, Michael graduated from Bernarsville High School in 1972. He began his unique music career at the New England Conservatory of Music, receiving a Bachelor’s of Music Performance and Bachelor’s of Music Education. Soon after, Michael attended the Yale School of Music for a Master’s degree in Performance. His next degree was a Master’s of Musicology, which was acquired at Smith College, and then Dr. Richards received his PhD in Experimental Theory at the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Richards was a performer and conductor at both Hamilton College in Clinton, New York and University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland. Many students remark fondly on the years that he was their professor, reminiscing that while being a stupendous conductor and educator, he had a great sense of humor, and that he would always be smiling.
Michael was an avid recitalist and pioneer of new music on the clarinet. He researched microtonal clarinet performance and published his first multimedia work on the subject for his PhD thesis, The Clarinet of the 21st Century. He would go on to publish similar books for bass and E-flat clarinet, and updated the previous work to provide more than 75 etudes and exercises.
Thereafter, he co-directed six international Japanese contemporary music symposiums with his wife, Dr. Kazuko Tanosaki-Richards. These festivals would lead Richards and Tanosaki to co-edit the book Music of Japan Today, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2008. Additionally, the book was translated and published in Japan by GeijutsuGendai shya Publishing.
Together, Dr. E. Michael Richards and Dr. Kazuko Tanosaki created The Tanosaki-Richards Duo in 1982. They performed in 10 countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, the United States, and various European countries, with performances at over 25 universities.
Known for his quote “I’m not mad, I’m just excited!” Dr. Richards exuded positive energy while leading with confidence with his musical groups, educational courses, and more. He will be remembered as a spectacular mentor, educator, musician, and friend.
Dr. E. Michael Richards is survived by wife and musical partner Dr. Kazuko Tanosaki-Richards and sister Dr. Melinda Richards Banks.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in honor of Dr. E. Michael Richards can be sent to the following charities: The University of Maryland Medical Center – for designation please select Heart Center Nursing Fund, The Baltimore Symphony Orhcestra’s OrchKids Organization, or to the UMBC Department of Music.
Additionally, the family invites you to share your favorite memories or photos of Michael (or Dr. Richards) on his website, https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/catonsville-md/e-richards-11168767 . The more photos and unique memories, the better!
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.sterlingashtonschwabwitzke.com for the Richards family.