Richard was born in 1978 in Bratislava, Slovakia, but his home is the near-by village of Pezinok. He crossed paths with bluegrass music while in a scout troop where he learned to play the guitar. Richard’s musical seed was planted at the age of 13 when he received a guitar, his first instrument, as a Christmas present from his father. At age 15, he became fascinated with the banjo and used his... more
Richard was born in 1978 in Bratislava, Slovakia, but his home is the near-by village of Pezinok. He crossed paths with bluegrass music while in a scout troop where he learned to play the guitar. Richard’s musical seed was planted at the age of 13 when he received a guitar, his first instrument, as a Christmas present from his father. At age 15, he became fascinated with the banjo and used his first earnings to purchase the instrument.
Early in his music career, Richard’s music was heavily influenced by the banjo players Palo Ochaba and Jano Bratinka. Joined by Peter Balaz, Richard started to musically experiment and study American recordings. Among these ideals were Flatt & Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, and later on Alison Krauss and Union Station, Blue Highway, Bela Fleck, Jim Mills, Tom Adams, Doyle Lawson, Quicksilver, and many others.
Richard’s musical beginnings can be traced back to his contribution to 29 Strings (1998–2002), a well-known contemporary bluegrass band from his hometown in Slovakia. He could also be found playing with groups like the Veget Band (1999–2000) and The Earthquake (2001). During 2002 to 2005, Richard played with the internationally renown Czech and Slovak band Fragment.
Since 1998, Richard has been organizing bluegrass nights called “Bluegrass Session” in Pezinok. In 1999, Richard co-founded the Slovak Bluegrass Association (SkBMA) and served as its president from 2000 to 2005. In 2001, Richard founded his own agency, Velvet Music, which provides assistance to bluegrass artists to help them release their recordings. To date, the agency has successfully helped to realize 15 projects.
Richard received a prize for best banjo player by the SkBMA in 1999 and 2000. 29 Strings was proclaimed to be the best bluegrass band in those years. In 2004, Fragment received the title of “European Group #1” at the EWOB Festival in Holland.
During 2001–2002, Richard recorded and produced CDs for 29 Strings and The Earthquake, as well as a sample CD featuring eight Slovak bands called “Over In The Gloryland” for the SkBMA. Richard recorded two CDs together with Fragment: “Meant To Be” (2003) and “The Way to Your Heart” (2005). In June 2004, he released his first solo album called “New Gallop” under the brand of Velvet Music, and in 2008 he finished his second solo album called “Rainy Day”. Richard produced his first DVD in 2011 based on his performance at the “Banjo & Friends” (SK) live concert with The Chapmans.
In 2006, Richard travelled with the award-winning American bluegrass artists Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (USA) to play on their European tour. In February 2012, Richard moved to the US to pursue his musical career, where he again joined Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Fragment, as well as other traditional bluegrass musicians and bands such as Carrie Hassler, Mountain Soul, Louisa Branscomb, and the Gold Heart Sisters.less