Education and Background
Rich Kuhns attended Foothill and DeAnza Colleges, where he studied musical performance, music theory, voice and Spanish. He performed with the Madrigal Choir and Foothill College Big Band and Jazz Sextet. His private piano studies were with Karyn Lee and Mark Levine.
Rich Kuhns has been a professional musician since 1982 and joined the CSMA faculty in 2005. He teaches beginning through advanced jazz keyboard performance, composition, theory and arranging to private students. He also conducts four jazz combo classes and teaches Introduction to Jazz Performance class. In 2016 he taught in the Music4Schools program bilingually at Castro and Mistral Elementary Schools.
In 2001 he was a California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, where he coached jazz combos and taught beginning improvisation and interpretation of pop music. Since 2002 he has been a periodic advisor to student jazz combos for the Stanford University Jazz Department and the College of San Mateo Jazz Department. He teaches privately at the Gelb Teaching Institute in Redwood City.
As a performer, his versatility on piano, accordion and electric keyboards has led to collaborations with Nelson Riddle and the San Jose Symphony, touring with Harry Belafonte, recording with Richie Cole and accompanying impressionist Frank Gorshin and Brazilian diva Elza Soares. He has numerous recordings and TV/Film scores to his credit.
“I’ve been playing music since I was eight years old. I use my own personal joy in studying and performing music to motivate my students. I want my students to understand that I too am learning right alongside them! Music is an ancient tree with many branches. Once the area of interest is established we can explore the possibilities. I seek to impart the musical knowledge which will help reveal an individual musical identity and encourage the student to trust their unique creative process in further clarifying that identity.”