Obituary: St. Louis Symphony timpanist Richard E. Holmes, 69

Posted on: June 10, 2011

In Thursday’s (6/9) St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller writes, “Richard E. Holmes was a consummate musician and devoted teacher. A legend in the orchestral world, he served for 41 years as the principal timpanist of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and over a decade as principal conductor of the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra at the Community Music School. He died Sunday (June 5) at his home in Lake Saint Louis of lung cancer. He was 69. Mr. Holmes was born in San Juan, Rizal, in the Philippines, on April 23, 1942. … In 1960 he went to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., for a year on a vocal scholarship. Returning to California, he studied at the San Francisco Conservatory, focused on timpani and was subsequently accepted to Juilliard, where his friends included SLSO conductor laureate Leonard Slatkin and pianist Emanuel Ax. He earned his bachelor and master of music degrees and was working on his doctorate in 1969 when he was hired by the SLSO as principal timpanist. … In addition to teaching, his other musical focus was conducting. He sometimes took the podium for SLSO concerts, including pops and educational performances, and led many youth orchestras.”

Posted June 10, 2011