Richard was born in Cleethorpes, a small seaside resort on the east coast of England. He now lives in Brighton, a large seaside resort on the south coast of England. Interested in music from an early age, he took drum tuition from ambulance driver Mr. William Brooks at sixpence a lesson, eventually playing percussion for the Cleethorpes & District Brass Band and the Grimsby Symphony Orchestra. He learned the cello at school, playing it in the local and county youth orchestras and also the Grimsby Light Orchestra. He went to study music at Manchester University for a period and the Royal Manchester College of Music (now the RNCM). He took part in his first broadcast at the age of 18 with the BBC Training Orchestra, and then played percussion many times for Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra (he is on Sir John Barbirolli’s recording of Mahler’s 3rdsymphony, for example, and Bruno Maderna’s account of Webern’s Six Pieces). At the RNCM he was awarded the Hiles Gold Medal, and took part in George Hadjinikos’s conducting classes.