Now based in Austin, Rick Furst is an award-winning composer and Singer-Songwriter who conquered the musical landscapes of major cities such as New York, Boston and Chicago in many different musical settings. Before launching his solo career in 2019, he performed in a very popular acoustic duo with his late wife.
His prolific output in the past two years includes many worldwide releases - including two well-received 5-song EPs ("Down To Austin" and "For Love And Freedom (with fiddle great Warren Hood)") and nearly a dozen Singles (including "Queen of the People's Hearts (Sweet Princess Di)", the very popular "Angels Came When Mary Would Sing" (a Motown-flavored ode to late great Supremes member Mary Wilson), "Through The Eyes of Love," and "Remember the Alamo (feat. fiddle great Warren Hood)," "Enough's Enough" (a song for Uvalde), "To Be A Freedom Fighter (A Song for the Ukraine)," a suicide prevention song, "My Dear Friend," "Afghanistan" and other heartfelt releases.
He's been getting radio play, had three songs named Semi Finalists in a recent Austin songwriting contest ("Down To Austin," "Georgia Peach" and the not-yet-released "The Riddle"), and his soaring homage anthem to the Alamo freedom fighters, "Remember The Alamo," has been welcomed by the official site Museum in San Antonio for use in educational and promotional efforts (Rick donated the song to them, gratis). He's played a few dozen gigs already in the Austin area - including a prestigious "Live Events" solo concert on a famous Steinway piano at the Georgetown Public Library - and plans a broader regional tour sometime in late 2023-early 2024. As a side project, Rick has also worked as a music director and bass player for BB King's cousin, King V.
And there's much more to come! Rick's set to release three new groundbreaking albums in 2023-24 - "The Riddle" (a cutting-edge power-piano album), "My Strange Times" (a cutting-edge primarily acoustic guitar-driven album) and the retro-flavored "Pure Fun" 5-song EP with sax great Tony Bray (featuring homages to Elvis and Fats Domino, Hoagie Carmichael, Diana Krall, plus a funky fun song, "Bad Bad Day").
Featured on hundreds of radio and TV show and written up in numerous newspapers and magazines in his previous music incarnations prior to his current solo career, Rick's written more than 1,000 songs (more than 500 in the last 10 years alone), and done literally thousands of live performances in various settings (including in bands and duos) and styles of music. He's also a multi-instrumentalist who plays electric guitar, acoustic 6- and 12-string guitars (steel and nylon string), electric bass guitar, Requinto, piano, keyboards (including synthesizers and organs), Native American flutes, and more, as well as singing lead and harmony vocals. In fact, he plays most of the instruments on his solo albums except drums. From rock bands, to Classical orchestras and chamber groups, to jazz bands and jazz quartets, to roots and Americana bands, to folk-rock groups to country bands, to Middle Eastern bands, Rick has done it all - and his diverse influences show in his richly textured music.
He has had the honor of having some monster world-class musicians collaborate with him on songs and albums. His recent musical journeys have been graced by world-class talents such as fabulous music producer Gabriel Rhodes, fiddle and mandolin great Warren Hood, sax giant Tony Bray, and BB King's cousin King V, among others - all of whom have worked with some of the top musicians around.
Like mid-period Beatles, his songs run a gamut of diverse styles, from balls-to-the-wall rock, to soft rock and folk rock songs, to power piano Classical or prog rock, to Diana Krall-ish, Randy Newman-ish smooth jazz numbers, to Irish rock, to country songs, to Native American-flavored songs, to even a Mongolian-influenced song. They all tie together, however, in their harmonic originality and richness and addictive catchy melodies.
Rick started performing professionally at the age of 12, in Classical orchestras, rock bands and jazz quartets. (He even performed a Mozart French horn concerto at that age. He gave up French horn after college, due to tinnitus issues.)
He studied Harmony and composition as a teenager with jazz great Richie Iacona (with whom he also performed on occasion, on guitar), and he eventually earned a Master's degree in Classical Music composition from the University of Chicago, where he studied with great composers Easley Blackwood and Shulamit Ran and noted musicologists George Meyer and Phillip Gossett. Rick's "Five Piano Preludes" won a prestigious Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Award.
His musical side gigs have included stints as a music writer for such publications as Downbeat magazine - for whom he profiled the likes of Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan and Gerry Mulligan - and the Boston Globe, and as a radio and TV personality, including announcer gigs at New York City's top two (then (now defunct)-commercial) Classical music stations, WQXR - where his fans included New York Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta and Dr. Ruth - and WNCN - where one of his fans was actor and director Robert Redford. Rick also hosted a talk show on a powerhouse New York PBS-TV station.
Rick comes from a long line of professional musicians, including a hit songwriting, big-band-leading grandfather (whose songs were performed by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Sarah Vaughan, Gershwin and many other greats), and a great uncle who was the music director at RCA Victor and a Hollywood music director.