Stephen Richards was born and raised in New York City. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music from New York University, a Master's Degree in Music Composition from Columbia University, was invested Cantor at the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College and received an Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Music from that institution. He has served on the Board of the American Conference of Cantors, the National Commission on Synagogue Music, and was the Project Director and Editor of Manginot, a Music Curriculum for Jewish Schools, published by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He was the cantor/educator of Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek, California from August, 1994 through June, 2000.
Prior to entering the School of Sacred Music, Stephen worked as a composer-arranger in musical theater. After completing his Cantorial studies in 1969 he served congregations in Rochester, New York, and Indianapolis before becoming the Editor of Transcontinental Music Publications and a faculty member of the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion. He then moved to Phoenix, and served with Temple Beth Israel for eleven years. He has sung with and/or directed Pro Cantione of Phoenix, Chorus Cappella of Northern California and Cantare Con Vivo; directed the music for North Phoenix Corporate Ministry Programs, and was the conductor of the Bay Area Jewish Chorale in San Francisco from 1997 through 1999, and the Atlanta Jewish Choral Festival in 2003.
He was honored in November, 2006 by the Society for Jewish Music as one of the leading composers of Synagogue music in North America. His works have been recorded by the Crakow Symphony Orchestra, the Liverpool Philharmonic and members of the Israel Philharmonic orchestra.
He is married to Marjorie Morse Richards. They have six children and nine grandchildren.