Rich played the piano form the age of 5. He studied in Berlin under Franz Schreker. He conducted at places such as Bologna in Italy, and Grant Park, in Illinois as well as the Metropolitan Opera. From 1970 to 1986 he headed the Philharmonic Symphony of Westchester. He was close friends with Leonard Bernstein.
Rich is known particularly as the first conductor of the Fourth Piano Concerto by Sergei Prokofiev, together with one-handed pianist Siegfried Rapp (Berlin, 1956). He often conducted The Rite of Spring. Besides being a symphonic conductor Rich was also a vocal coach for people such as Martina Arroyo.
Rich claimed that he was born left-handed but the adults around him forced him to learn to be right-handed.
Rich died in 2000, aged 95. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and two grandchildren.
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