Geoff Richter Performing Arts Award

The Geoff Richter Performing Arts Award Committee announces the availability of an Award up to $2,000!
Geoff Richter Performing Arts Awards applications are now closed.

Questions? Contact

When Geoff and I married, we chose not to say the traditional words that we would love each other “until death do us part.” My vow to Geoff ended with, “I will love and honor you all the days of my life.” I believe this award is one way I can fulfill that vow. It will carry on Geoff’s commitment to the performing arts, as well as his legacy as a teacher and a performer, by providing support for students who choose that area of study.
– Janet Richter

Scholarship Applications will be available online until February 1.

The Geoff Richter Performing Arts Award Committee is dedicated to assisting college students from Western New York jump-start their career in the arts. Through hard-work and determination, dreams come true!

The GRPAA was founded in memory of Geoff Richter, Western New York Musician and Educator of the Arts.

Award Recipients


Gabriella Galante

Niagara University –
BFA in Theatre Studies


James Berger

University of Texas at Austin –
Master of Music – Piano Performance


Hanna Pawlowski

Butler University – Dance/Pedagogy


Madeline Ferguson

University of Maryland

Nicole Conte

The Ohio State University

Matthew Incontro

Eastman School of Music


Rachel Latke

SUNY at Buffalo – Dance

Kimberly Cole

SUNY at Geneseo – Musical Theater


Matthew Caputy

SUNY Fredonia – Trumpet

Cody Holland

SUNY at Buffalo – Dance

Makayla Sprague

Mercyhurst University – Dance


Michael Christie

Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University – Trumpet


Evan Matthew Stewart

SUNY at Buffalo – Dance

Ellen Pieroni

Buffalo State College – Saxophone


Brendan Lanighan

Eastman School of Music – Trombone

Melissa Thompson

James Mason University – Flute


David Wasik

SUNY at Buffalo – Percussion


Christina Dinella

Eastman School of Music – Piano

Geoff Richter with wife Jan and daughter Julia

About Geoff Richter

A native of Eden, New York, Geoff received his Bachelor of Music degree with a Performer’s Certificate in trumpet and a Master’s with a Performers Fellowship, from the Eastman School of Music.

Geoff played trumpet professionally with the Rochester, San Antonio, and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestras and Niagara Falls, Binghamton, Chautauqua, Orchard Park, Clarence, Cheektowaga, and Amherst Symphony Orchestras. He co-founded the Buffalo Brass Quintet, the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band, and The Frankfurters, an internationally known Bavarian show band. He also acted as the summer/pops conductor of the Erie County Wind Ensemble and the Amherst Symphony Orchestra.

After retiring from a long career at Williamsville North High School, Geoff started working part time as director of the orchestra for musicals at St. Joseph Collegiate Institute. He also worked with the Mount Saint Mary Academy band and recruited and directed the orchestra for the annual school musical.

Eligibility & Guidelines

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be students who have attended high school in one of the 8 counties of Western New York State (Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming and Orleans).
  • Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited institution of higher education anywhere in the United States.
  • Academic programs must lead to a degree or a certificate of completion for the prescribed course of study in performing arts in the disciplines of theater, dance, instrumental music or vocal music.
  • Applicants must maintain a 3.0 GPA.
  • Completed online application and supporting materials must be submitted by February 1st.

Documentation Requirements

Before you begin your application, please gather the following materials which will need to be submitted as a PDF or JPG. 

Academic Transcripts
  • Send us an official educational institution transcript.
Personal Statement
  • Complete a brief personal statement.
Faculty Recommendation
  • The enclosed letter of recommendation form should be completed and returned by email or to the address listed on the form.
Sample of performance

Our Scholarships could not be made possible without the generosity of our donors.

The Geoff Richter Commission Project

Buffalo Niagara Concert Band announces the “Geoff Richter Commission Project”

The Buffalo Niagara Concert Band has commissioned a new work dedicated to the memory of its late founding co-director, Geoff Richter. The piece premiered in a concert celebrating Mr. Richter’s life on Friday, May 11, 2012. The concert was held Williamsville North High School, the school where Geoff taught for 30 years. This date marked the two-year anniversary of Mr. Richter’s final concert on the podium with the BNCB.

On May 12, 2010, the BNCB shared the stage with the internationally-renowned Los Angeles Pierce Symphonic Winds. The L.A. Winds, led by Stephen Piazza, came to Buffalo as part of their annual performance tour, which has taken them across the country and around the world to Chicago, New Orleans, New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. Geoff Richter, Amy Steiner, and Frank Colletti led the BNCB in concert following the LA Winds’ performance, and the concert concluded with a joint performance – over 125 musicians on stage performing Black Granite, Salute to the Armed Forces, and the Official March of the USA – Stars and Stripes Forever. The unique and unforgettable musical experience of that night was followed by a party hosted by the BNCB at its home, American Legion Post 1041 in Buffalo. Many of the bands’ members and directors would begin ongoing correspondence with their cross-country bandmates during that night of music, food, drink, and camaraderie.

Geoff Richter passed away suddenly on May 25, 2010, just two weeks after that memorable concert. The BNCB family came together to honor their late Director in a concert after his funeral mass and within only a few weeks, the band’s members began talking about commissioning a piece of music in Geoff’s memory. The seed was planted and the plant took root and grew; in November 2010, after a selection process considering several composers, the selection was made. The relationships forged on that May concert night with the LA Winds brought the BNCB to Michael Kibbe, a Los Angeles-based composer who plays oboe with and has written several pieces for the LA Winds.

Questions? Contact Geoff Richter Performing Arts Award at or 716-204-1133

The Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies would be honored to assist you and your family in preserving your legacy through the education of future generations.

Irving H. Levy, Executive Director
(716) 204-1139 •  716-390-9653 •