History in Music

Here’s a little more info about my evolution and roots:

At the age of nine, she began playing in her public school’s instrumental program. Her musical father noticed her passion for music and encouraged her to continue. By the time she turned fourteen, Vicki Richards decided that being a professional musician was her life’s calling. A unique talent, Vicki has developed a distinctive new style of playing the violin, taking bowing and articulation from her “western” classical training, smooth vocal style glissandos from her North Indian classical music immersion and combining these with the driving hand drum rhythms of contemporary and ancient world music.


At the age of nineteen, Vicki was well on her way to establishing her professional status as a classical violinist. She had toured Europe, taken master classes with Joseph Gingold at Indiana University and become the youngest member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. Curious and restless, she listened intently to jazz contemporaries including Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin, Airto, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.

Her love for the avant guarde scene continued to blossom and in 1976 she commissioned a custom-built, solid body electric violin with quadraphonic pick-ups and plugged it into a wah-wah pedal and a Fender amp. Uncomfortable with jazz’s approach to harmonic improvisation, she became intrigued with the rhythmical and classical improvisational methods of the Banaras tabla tradition.


Vicki was awarded a Professional Development Grant from the America Institute of Indian Studies (Univ of Chicago) in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution which enabled her to spend many months in Banaras, India where she experienced total immersion in the culture and classical traditions of the Hindustani violin under the guidance of violin master Smt. Dr. N. Rajam and sitar virtuoso Sri Amar Nath Misra.


Upon her return from the East, she re-settled in New York City for a short time, sharing the stage with improvisers such as Paul McCandless of Oregon and Dave Samuels of Spyro Gyra and working as a full time member of the American Jewish Congress’ New Music Ensemble. She also appeared as a soloist playing Indian classical violin at Carnegie Recital Hall, catching the attention of a world-renowned New York Times critic and establishing herself as one of the few Westerners recognized as legitimate exponents of pure Indian classical tradition.


In 1981, her intense interest in rhythm led to a close collaboration with Robert Thomas Jr. of Weather Report  the Zawinul Syndicate) fame. She also began melodic and harmonic collaboration with Amitava Chatterjee, an electric guitarist and sitarist with a shared vision of improvisation using both Eastern and Western elements. Bobby’s compelling hand drumming and Amit’s melodic and harmonic concepts form the perfect grid over which Vicki works her technical and melodic wizardry. Vicki’s association with Bobby and Amit continues to this day.


In South Florida collaborations have included Frank Carmelitano, Statoshi Takeishi, Jean Balduc & many more players.

Currently her music colleagues also include Jeff Deen (tabla & percussion), Mitch Kopp (guitars), Layne Redmond, Jorge Alfano (multi instrumentalist)

Playing and speaking on Radio WVUM Sat 6/23/12 3-4PM

Join in, online or on radio, with Jeff Deen and me this Saturday afternoon. We’ll be playing live, playing some tracks from She Vanishes and chatting with the host during this hour of World Music.
90.5 FM

Click or copy this link- http://wvum.org/index.php/blog/article/saturday_23rd_june_on_caravan_3-5_pm_ragas_and_rhythms_by_vicky_richar/




Strings Without Boundaries

This is quite a week in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University with terrific talent, faculty and students.

Amazing violinists at Strings Without Boundaries last night! OMG!
I can’t tell you whose playing, compositions or improvisation was more moving or stunningly virtuosic! Let me just give you the names:
Richard Greene, Matt Turner, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Martin Norgaard, Kellie Trottier & Yours Truly
Wish you were here to witness this!

Directors Stephen Benham, Julie Lieberman have outdone themselves.

She Vanishes…New Recording…review

This just in for the special 2 song Benefit Release  CD of She Vanishes (expecting the whole CD later this month!)

“To say “thank you” to VickieRichards, Mitch Kopp and Jeff Dean for their exquisite offering “She Vanishes,” pales in comparison to the appreciation that I feel, or to the recognition these artists deserve for producing a masterpiece.

Although I am not a musician, I understand music.  I understand that while listening to “She Vanishes” and my heart opens / I begin to cry … that I am witnessing the highest level of this art.

While listening to Ms. Richard’s Violin playing it was difficult to discern “if she was playing the Violin or the Violin was playing her”.  A complete and beautiful merger of instruments …

Thank you,

Elise / New York

Terrific Night in Miami: double CD Release & Benefit for MSP Nov 21st

What a night it was in Miami, Nov 21st! Miami String Project played “Rounds” which rocked the church! The energy and American nature I felt would also dovetail into Trailhead which has Aaron Copeland quotes. They were a very tough act to follow!
It takes such dedication to become a musician, and the years…so worth supporting!
With our trios, Jeff, Mitch & Jorge…always blissful and a joy. Friends, family, music ..what a great gathering under the auspices of CD Releases. Carmen Cecelia with lighted hoops, Ken’s photos….a grand evening. Peter & Mike recording & live engineers, children sprinkled in the audience. Klara, almost 100 years old came.
It Takes A Village to make all the music come together to get to audience ears.Thank you all for being in the Village!

(Somehow the Herald chose to not list our event & we didn’t miss out on a good word of mouth crowd.)

****Miriam has done amazing work in the community for our young string players.
Watch for the official release of She Vanishes in late Dec!

PLAYING in Great Barrington Feb 5th 5-8 PM

Location FUEL on Main Street, GB
Date Friday, February 5, 2010
Time 5:00 pm
Event GODDESS LOOP: Vicki & JoAnne Spies at FUEL
Event Type Music Party of 2 or “open rehearsal”…just us Goddess Loopers
Short Description JoAnne Spies and Vicki return to FUEL for the tea, coffee & goodies…oh…Right..we are performing our 1st open rehearsal.
Description It’s a chance to hear a bit of what Vicki has been working on, recording her next CD. She was in Miami over the Holidays . What do you think JoAnne will surprise us with this time? Her strong voice, story telling ability and songs always bring a picture into great relief.
My favorites: A Beautiful Boy, The Prairie, The Checkout Line & many more

Hey …last time we played there she belted out Kansas City! After I finished closing my jaw I enjoyed playing some lines along the way. Our last music party at Fuel involved audience participation. It’s a groove thing or a call & response. Ya Never Know! Hope you can come out and hang out with us on Feb 5th.

Location FUEL Main St Great Barrington MA