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Richard Hayman

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Richard Hayman

Biography

Richard Hayman (27 March 1920, Cambridge, Mass. – 5 February 2014, New York City) was an American arranger, harmonica player and conductor.

Hayman started out as a player and arranger for the Borrah Minnevitch Harmonica Rascals before becoming an arranger for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios during the early 1940s. He did arrangements (often uncredited) for the MGM films Girl Crazy, Meet Me in St. Louis and Thousands Cheer. From 1945-1950, he was musical director for the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra. In the 1950s and 60s, Hayman recorded a series of albums for Mercury Records. His 1957 outing Havana In Hi-Fi was first in the label's pop music stereo LP series (SR 60000).

Hayman is most famous for having been the principal arranger at the Boston Pops Orchestra for over 30 years where his award-winning arrangements are still used today. He occasionally guest-conducted there, and when Arthur Fiedler had a time conflict with his job as pops conductor for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he recommended Hayman for the post.

Hayman was also closely affiliated with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for over 30 years. Known for his sequined jackets, harmonica solos, and corny jokes, he became its Principal Pops Conductor in 1976, leading both the Pops at Powell and Queeny Park concerts.

He retired as the Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids, Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Space Coast Pops Orchestra in Cocoa, Florida in 2012.

His biggest hit was the 1953 single Ruby. Hayman took the theme for the motion picture Ruby Gentry, and through his specially stylized arrangement, utilizing a harmonica as the solo instrument with a large, quasi-symphonic orchestra, the song zoomed to the top of the hit parade all over the world and brought about a renewed interest in the harmonica.

He continued to chart into the early 1960s with titles like Night Train.

Hayman's last event with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, where he held the title of Pops Conductor Emeritus, took place on June 27, 2010, to honor his 90th birthday.


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