Richard Adams studied trumpet at Birmingham School of Music where he won several competitions and prizes. He was awarded the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 1985, made an Honorary Member of Birmingham Conservatoire in July 1998 (Hon BC), and an Honorary Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire in June 2009.
He was a founder (in 1981) and leader of the Cambrian Brass Quintet and performed with them throughout Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Spain, Austria, Iceland, Finland, Thailand, Qatar, Jordan and Thailand.
From 1984 to 1996, Richard worked as a professional trumpeter, brass teacher and brass band conductor. During this period, he was the principal trumpet of the Melachrino Strings & Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera and Birmingham Touring Opera. He also performed regularly with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, English Symphony Orchestra, D’Oyle Carte Opera Company, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
He has also performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (1994, 1997 and 2000), Czech Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Circus, Moscow Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and in a recording with the pop group Erasure.
Richard’s varied and colourful conducting experiences include performances with ensembles as diverse as the English Serenata, Desford Colliery Band and Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.
In January 1996, Richard became the Head of Woodwind, Brass & Percussion at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama; a post he held until August 2000 when he left the UK to accept an invitation to become Head of Music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) in Singapore.
Richard led the transformation of music at NAFA into a fully-fledged conservatoire programme, culminating with the successful launch of the BMus (Hons) degree programme in collaboration with the Royal College of Music.
Richard has been a frequent adjudicator for the Singapore Youth Festival since 1999 and has given masterclasses and workshops for many schools, institutions and bands throughout the region. He has also adjudicated at several international competitions including the Singapore International Band Festival, Beijing International Band Festival, and the Taiwan Band Association National Band Contest.
After almost 12 years as Head of Music, Richard was appointed Vice Dean (Academic Projects), with responsibility for degrees and professional partnerships across the whole of NAFA. He became Dean, Office of Academic Affairs in December 2013.
Since January 2015, Richard has served as Dean of the new School of Arts Management, Dance & Theatre at NAFA. He was made an Honorary Member of the Royal College of Music (HonRCM) in March 2017.