Joan Beard, Photographer

Resident at Westbeth since 1999

Ode to Richard Hundley

The tinkling of Richard Hundley composing music flowed from his apartment into mine. So did the opera singers’ voices and the hiss of the wall heater we shared. I controlled the knob, so he always had a key in case I wasn’t home to regulate the steam. We shared the wall from 1999 to 2009 on the 2nd floor in the D section.

One day as I was trying to make travel arrangements for a photo shoot, he overheard the garbage flowing freely from my mouth after the plane fares rose by half in the fifteen minutes it took me to confirm my magazine would cover the expense. An hour later, he knocked on my door and delivered a beautiful Balthazar pastry bag, filled with treats*: “It sounds like you are having a rough day.” It got better instantly.

He was known to many West Villagers as that man racing to Bus Stop for a meal wearing that stunning summer hat. To others, Richard Hundley was an iconic American composer who also was part of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus. He performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Northern Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and soloed with the Cincinnati Symphony.

To me and neighbors who knew him, he was a kind and very busy man.

*I believe they were from one of his students.

All photos by Joan Beard. WARC has permission to use these photos on the website and in its communications. All other usages should be requested in writing, joanbeard.com.

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