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Richard  White

Richard White

Inspirational Speaker, Professor, Principal Tubist & Best-Selling Author

Richard White

Inspirational Speaker, Professor, Principal Tubist & Best-Selling Author


At an age when many of us were headed off to nursery school, a young Richard Antoine White, aka “Raw Tuba,” was homeless and coping with deprivation and poverty. Richard often went in search of his mother who, while struggling with alcoholism, sometimes disappeared. Richard would go to all the places he had located his mom previously until he once again found her. One fateful night, Richard almost died searching for his mom in the snow and was taken in, fostered and eventually adopted by his grandparents.

It turned out to be his saving grace. Living with his grandparents was an adjustment. But then, Richard joined a band and discovered a talent and a sense of purpose. With support from a few caring educators and mentors, Richard began to thrive. He gained confidence and learned the valuable lesson that he could reach his full potential. First in his family to attend and graduate from college, Richard gained the limitless power that choice brings.

Today, Richard is the bestselling author of the memoir I'm Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream; and an inspirational speaker who has traveled the world sharing inspirational thoughts and philosophies that have motivated him. But that’s just the start. He is a Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at The University of New Mexico, and a Principal Tubist of the New Mexico Philharmonic and the Santa Fe Symphony. He is also certified in Diversity and Inclusion training from Cornell University.

With over two decades of performing on the world’s classical music stages, Richard has matured into a musician known for his clear sound and stylistic flexibility. He began his tuba studies at The Baltimore School for the Performing Arts. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and his master’s and doctoral degree from Indiana University. He is the first African-American in the world to receive a doctorate of music in tuba performance.

Richard has performed with the Canadian Brass Quintet, Indiana University Faculty Brass Quintet, New Mexico Symphony Brass Quintet, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, Sphinx Symphony, Chineke Orchestra and many others. He is also an Adams and Conn-Selmer Artist.

Prior to moving to New Mexico, Richard was one of the top freelance musicians in the Indianapolis area, where he recorded with such greats as movie film composer John Williams, Cincinnati Pops conductor Eric Kunzel, and the late great wind ensemble conductor Frederik Fennell.

Throughout his musical and educational career development, Richard has had a passionate interest in motivational speaking. That dream has recently materialized itself with the launching of the documentary RawTuba. In addition, he’s building the R.A.W. Tuba Ranch, a place of fellowship, family and friends where everyone is welcome.

Speaker Videos

How the Tuba Got Him Off the Streets of Baltimore | The Daily Show

Be Prepared

Journey From Homelessness to ‘Belonging’ On Stage | PBS NewsHour

From Street to Stage | CBS News

The Daily Show Appearance Bonus Clip

R.A.W. Tuba – Official Trailer

I’m Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream

Science of Sound – Experiments at Home

Speech Topics

”R.A.W. Tuba”: The Power of Overcoming, Resilience & Determination

In this incredibly inspirational presentation, Dr. Richard White shares his story—from a Baltimore kid trying to live on the streets most of the time at an incredibly young age to becoming the first African-American in the world to receive a doctorate of music in Tuba. And how resilience and determination led him on the path to success. This talk is most suited and requested by educational institutions, youth organizations, homeless organizations and arts organizations.

Diversity Equity & Inclusion

Is it possible for DEI to become as common in the workplace and in our culture as NFL football on Monday night? Dr. Richard White, who is certified in Diversity and Inclusion training from Cornell University, believes it can be achieved. In this talk, he’ll share some of the best practices for getting to this goal and how by changing the social consciousness of our society by creating and showing how DEI can be expressed through meaningful dialogues in education, administration and community outreach is a great way to start.

Achieving the American Dream

In this motivational and inspiring talk, Dr. Richard White imparts words of wisdom for anyone who is just starting out or trying to find their way. Along with his own story, Dr. White shares how to achieve success and any field of human endeavor through hope, kindness, paying it forward and the power of imagination.