Richard Westenburg is one of the leading church music directors in the New York City area.
He graduated from Lawrence University, Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota in choral conducting and organ. He studied both in France with Pierre Cochereau and Jean Langlais, and had more general musical studies there with Nadia Boulanger. He completed his postgraduate studies at the Union Theological Seminary.
In New York City he has had positions with the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. In 1968 he founded the Musica Sacra, a leading professional chorus.
He also initiated the Basically Bach Festivals at Lincoln Center in 1979, and served as its music director through 1989. He has been head of the Choral Departments of the Juilliard School (1977-1989) and Rutgers University (1986-1992).
He frequently gives seminars in sacred music performance at leading educational institutions, and among his guest conducting appearances have been engagements with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Bethlehem Bach Choir, the American Symphony Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.