When Richard Nechamkin was 5 years old, his parents asked whether he preferred tickets for the Mets or the Met. It was a tough decision for a kid who loved both baseball and music, but he chose the latter.
Today, Mr. Nechamkin is a Conductor, Pianist and Vocal Coach with over 25 years of experience. For the past 18 years he has been Music Director and Conductor of New York Opera Forum, an opera workshop he founded to give classically trained singers the opportunity to learn and perform operas uncut and in their original language.
Throughout the 1980s, Mr. Nechamkin conducted the Y Sinfonietta, a 45 piece orchestra based in Flushing, NY. He programmed works by Stravinsky, Mozart, Varese, Haydn, Schoenberg, Ligeti, Verdi, Puccini, Schubert, Beethoven, Mascagni, Dvorak and Wagner, and presented 4 World Premiers including Robert Rollin's "Song of Deborah" and the American Premiere of Jean Français’ Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra. During that time he also served as guest conductor of the Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, a 25 piece ensemble consisting of members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Since 2002, Mr. Nechamkin has served as Associate Music Director for the Natchez Opera Festival. His extensive operatic experience includes Musical Direction and Conducting for Brooklyn Music School Opera Workshop, New York Lyric Opera, Opera-On-The-Go, Community Opera, New York Opera Theatre and Ottocento Opera Company.
He has worked as repetiteur for New York City Opera, Amato Opera, New York Grand Opera, Henry Street Settlement and Hudson Valley Opera. He has accompanied opera stars Montserrat Caballé and Susanne Marsee, and has played for the voice studios of Gabriella Tucci, Joshua Hecht, Renata Scotto, Carol & Nico Castel, Michael Warren, Gary Glaze, Anthony Frissell and Michael Trimbel, among others.
Mr. Nechamkin has accompanied recitalists in the United States (broadcast on National Public Radio), Norway, Germany and Hong Kong. In July of 1999, Mr. Nechamkin had the honor of accompanying a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist program, Marjorie Elinor Dix, at the memorial service for Lauren Bessette in Greenwich, CT. Additonally, he has arranged and conducted several film scores, and has served as Music Director for two off- off- Broadway productions.
Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Nechamkin was already studying piano when his parents asked that fateful question. He attended NYC's High School of Music and Art, continuing on to Manhattan School of Music where he majored in Viola, studying with Paul Zukovsky and Lillian Fuchs. As a Violist he participated in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s School of Orchestral Studies in Saratoga, NY and played in several other orchestras, most notably under Christopher Keene and Eugene Ormandy. After graduating from MSM, Mr. Nechamkin studied conducting privately with Pierre Boulez, Sixten Ehrling, Anton Coppola, and Carl Topolow.
That small boy’s decision to wield a baton instead of a bat proved to be the right one. Of course, he still roots for the Mets...and the Red Sox.