Keitaro Harada is where he is today — and depending on the calendar, that could be conducting a symphony or an opera somewhere in North America or Asia — thanks in no small part to an acclaimed musician turned UI educator.
“When I think about my time at UIUC, the person I want to thank the most is Debra Richtmeyer, professor of saxophone,” says the Tokyo-born Harada, now the music and artistic director of Savannah Philharmonic.
“Debra showed me the effort, diligence, honesty and love that is required to become an artist. Through her guidance, I was able to gain a strong work ethic and most importantly, the beauty of making music.
“Debra provided a wonderful environment for all of us students to grow and find our own artistry. She truly believed in me and having that support has led to where I am today.”
Harada began his undergraduate studies in C-U, where he got a taste of things to come, serving as music director for the Broadway production of “Cabaret.”
After spending the summers of 2004-05 attending conducting workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia, he was appointed apprentice conductor of the Macon Symphony Orchestra in 2005.
He finished up his bachelor’s degree work in the Georgia city and later added a master’s, both from Mercer University.