School of Music

Richard Hughey

Richard Hughey, D.M.A.
Associate Professor, Director of Orchestral Activities
Sallee Hall 208
Phone: (309) 298-1729
Visit: WIU Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hughey is Director of Orchestral Activities at Western Illinois University. Having started his musical education on the cello, he developed an early interest in orchestral conducting beginning with studying the scores of Beethoven and Brahms symphonies. As a member of the local youth symphony, he had his first experience on the podium with that orchestra at the age of 15. As a high school senior, he was awarded the first prize in the music category in the Utah statewide competition “Sterling Scholars”. He later completed a Bachelor of Music cum laude at Utah State University with a major in Cello Performance and a minor in German. At the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, he completed a Master of Music degree magna cum laude, with a double major in Cello Performance and Orchestral Conducting. He then went on to the University of Arizona where he completed the Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance under Gordon Epperson and a minor in Orchestral Conducting studying with Leonard Pearlman.

Following a year teaching at Fort Hays State University in Kansas, Dr. Hughey was named Assistant Conductor and Assistant Principal Cellist with the Omaha Symphony. In Omaha, he was also Principal Cellist and orchestra manager for Opera Omaha. From Nebraska, he moved to North Carolina where he served eight years as Music Director and Conductor of the Western Piedmont Symphony. There he also performed in the Western Piedmont String Quartet and directed over 800 in-school concerts during his tenure.

A strong interest in German culture, language and music, motivated Hughey to move to Germany in the fall of 1990, where he became Music Director of the Lausitzer Konzertorchester. In 1992, he was invited to become the artistic director and conductor of the University Orchestra at the University in Dresden. During the first few years of this responsibility he organized a new chamber orchestra which quickly developed into the TU-Kammerphilharmonie Dresden and was recognized by the press in Dresden as one of the finest orchestral ensembles of the city. During these years, he also formed the chamber orchestra Tonus, with members of the Sächsische Staatskapelle and the Dresdner Philharmonie. Also having a keen interest in Baroque performance practice, he took the opportunity to perform as a cellist in ensembles with some of the leading Baroque musicians of Germany.

Opera being also of significant interest to Hughey, he instigated a summer opera festival in the city of Cottbus, Federal State of Brandenburg, situated between Berlin and Dresden. Here he performed lesser-known masterworks of the composers Francesco Cavalli, Joseph Haydn, André Gretry, Georg Friedrich Händel, Wolfgang Amadé Mozart, Giovanni Paisiello and Reinhard Keiser. These performances were a platform for young exceptional vocal talent and many of the former participants now perform in many well-respected opera houses in Germany. In the summer of 2008, he directed performances of Die Zauberflöte of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart. In 2009 he conducted performances of Die Zauberflöte anda new production of Don Giovanni. During the summer of 2014 Hughey was invited by Opera Classica Europa to conduct Die Zauberflöte in Germany. His direction was praised in the German press: The orchestra conducted by Richard Hughey stayed anchored in the classical tradition of Mozart with the ensemble displaying great fun in the enjoyment of performing.

His extensive background in historically informed performance practice led him to be invited to present at the Illinois All-State Conference in 2010 and the 2011 National Conference of the American String Teachers Association. To both of the presentations, he took the WIU Chamber Orchestra to perform and demonstrate the principles of Baroque performance practice as part of his presentation.

Hughey is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the National Association for Music Education, the American String Teachers Association, and the League of American Orchestras.