Professor Richard Hawkins made his solo debut on four subscription concerts at the Kennedy Center with Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra in 1992. He has since given more than fifty performances of featured clarinet works with orchestra. His first teaching position at the Interlochen Arts Academy in 1993 set a new career direction, a dedication to educating the world's finest young clarinetists. He has simultaneously led an active performing career, as well as pursued his passion for instrument design. His recent January 2013 double CD release on ITunes and Oberlin Conservatory's own recording label has featured the works of Elliot Carter, William Albright, Benjamin Broening and Aaron Helgeson.
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Hawkins simultaneously performed for five seasons as principal clarinet of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra while also serving as artist faculty at the Hot Springs Music Festival each June from 1997-2007. His work in the arenas of contemporary, chamber and orchestral music have included performances with the Bogota Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Tucson Winter Music Festival, as well as recitals and master classes throughout the United States and Europe. His recent adjudication with the Youth orchestra of Columbia and teaching brought him to Bogota in July of 2012 where he coached the orchestra on their first tour of South America.
After several years at Interlochen, and a brief tenure at DePaul University, Hawkins joined the faculty of the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2001. His former students now hold prestigious positions in orchestras and teaching institutions worldwide.
Hawkins designed instruments for the G. Leblanc Corporation and developed his own line of clarinet mouthpieces that have become some of the most widely favored products in the industry. He is now an artist and representative for Légère Reeds LTD. and Backun Musical Services. Mr. Hawkins proudly performs on the Backun MOBA clarinet made of cocobolo with a G Model Richard Hawkins mouthpiece and Legere Signature reed.