Richard Riley’s career encompasses music performance, writing, and non-profit management. Now in his sixth season as Artistic Director of the Burlington Choral Society, Mr. Riley is also Music Director at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, and he guest conducts the Onion River Chorus and Montpelier Chamber Orchestra.
Born into a musical family and trained from age nine as a professional chorister, Mr. Riley received his Bachelor’s Degree in the Performance of Early Music from the New England Conservatory, studying voice and early woodwinds, and his Master's Degree in Choral Conducting from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
On the music faculty at Cornell University from 1996-2006, Riley prepared and conducted over 200 works including twelve premiere performances of new works by Cornell-affiliated composers and major works with orchestra by Bernstein, Britten, Orff, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Handel, and Bach.
He left Cornell to become Managing Director of the Brattleboro Music Center in Brattleboro, VT, where he had responsibilities for programming, production, and financial management of a dynamic, multi-program organization founded by the distinguished conductor Blanche Moyse, with whom he had studied in the early 1970s while a student at Marlboro College.
Other professional activities have included music journalism; ghost writing; co-founding the Light in Winter festival in Ithaca, NY; establishing the Music on the Hill summer camp in Belmont, MA; directing the premiere performances of five operas written especially for children and adults; and performing as a musician at Shakespeare festivals in Oregon, Utah, and Burlington. He currently serves on the board of Scrag Mountain Music.
Richard Riley lives in a former one-room schoolhouse in East Montpelier with his wife, artist Susan Bull Riley. They have two grown daughters.