Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt, composer in residence (1930-2011)

Musician and friend extraordinaire, Richard passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, December 8, 2011, after a long and valiant battle. In addition to the privilege of sharing the stage with Richard, ithas given us immense pleasure to perform his music for over 25 years. It is a pleasure that never ceases. Through the many years, we have enjoyed working not only with an outstanding musician, but an incredible human being. His memory lives on through his rich musical legacy.

The “Quartango sound,” characterized by elegant musical arrangements, filled with energy and influences from the classical instrumental repertoire, from opera, jazz, ragtime and Celtic music, is due primarily to the unique arrangements by Richard Hunt, who has also composed some 20 original works for the group. Although not very familiar with the subtleties of tango music when the group was founded in 1983, he drew on his classical training and rapidly developed expertise in this field that is unequaled. Fervent admirers in Buenos Aires find it hard to believe that Richard was not born in Argentina, given the truly exceptional caliber of his arrangements and original compositions.

Born in England, Richard studied piano and viola at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he won the Macpherson Prize for musicianship just prior to immigrating to Canada in 1956. After working as an organist, piano teacher and musical director at Lower Canada College, Richard entered McGill University in 1967, where he studied composition with Bruce Mather and Istvan Anhalt, and obtained a bachelor’s in music with distinction in composition in 1970. He then continued his studies in composition with alcides lanza, obtaining a master’s degree and lecturing at McGill for several years during doctoral studies with Bengt Hambraeus in 1975.

In 1984, Richard’s friend, the late Adolfo Bornstein, invited him to become pianist (from 1984 to 2009) and arranger for Quartango, and so he remains to this day. 

Apart from his many arrangements and orchestrations, Richard is the proud composer of Tango sulla morte d’un eroe, Milonga Celtica, Jalousie II, music for Macadam Tango and Suite Buenos Aires. His arrangements for Bach to Tango!, a show featuring Quartango and vocal quartet, merited an Opus award!

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