Richard Gillis studied trumpet at The University of Saskatchewan (B.Mus.), The Banff Centre (Canadian Brass), and The University of Michigan (M.Mus.; D.M.A.), as well as privately with Armando Ghitalla, Vincent Cichowicz and James Stamp. While completing his D.M.A. Richard played in The University of Michigan faculty brass quintet. Richard has performed with and organized a number of groups, the most notable being the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra which he co-founded and has been artisic director of since 1997. Other Winnipeg ensembles Richard has performed with are the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Metalmotphosis Brass Quintet, Music Baroque, Groundswell, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble (which he also conducted), the WSO brass quintet, the Ron Paley Big Band, and several other classical and jazz ensembles.
Since 2000 Richard has performed internationally with Icelandic guitarist Bjorn Thoroddsen. In addition to their seven CDs and several radio and tv broadcasts, they have performed at jazz festivals and other venues in United States, Iceland and Canada. Highlights include a IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators) Conference performance in January/2003, a performance at Dizzy’s Club (Lincoln Centre, NYC) in October/2006, and a concert in Washington DC (Embassy series) in May/2010. Dr. Gillis is a full professor in the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music.