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People Top 5
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- September 24, 1979
- Vol. 12
- No. 13
Richard Buckley is associate conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and has already amassed enough musical credits at 26 to impress even his own musically gifted family. His father is Emerson Buckley, the former New York City Opera conductor, who is now music director of the Fort Lauderdale Symphony. His mother, Mary Henderson, was a lyric soprano at the Met. His older brother, Robert, is associate director of the Houston Grand Opera. Richard himself made his debut at age 4, singing opera with Cyril Ritchard in Colorado. Two years later he was performing with the New York City Opera and at 7 with the Met. The native New Yorker enrolled at North Carolina School of the Arts at 14 and wound up proficient in piano, violin ("I like to fiddle around with strings"), trombone and percussion. "I decided to be a conductor when I was 16 or 17," recalls the prematurely gray bachelor, whose favorite hobby is cooking. After receiving his B.A., Richard entered the master's program at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., then attended conducting courses in Europe and Aspen. Still, Buckley admits, he came to Seattle "wet behind the ears," and says that to conduct musicians who are older than he requires tact and preparation. "The minute you are unprepared in front of an orchestra," he notes, "they'll cut you to shreds."
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