Personnel Bio

MU1 Katherine Velasquez Richards

Originally from Austin, TX, MU1 Katherine Velasquez Richards joined the U.S. Coast Guard Band as Co-Principal Flute in January 2024.  

Prior to the Coast Guard, Katherine was a self-proclaimed Texas flutist - she previously held Principal Flute positions with the West Texas Symphony, where she was a member of the West Texas Winds woodwind quintet, the Missouri Symphony (the exception to the Texas rule), and performed extensively on flute and piccolo with orchestras throughout DFW, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.  She previously served on the faculty of University of Texas Permian Basin and Odessa College. 

MU1 Velasquez Richards has been highly involved in the National Flute Association throughout her career and is one of only a few flutists who have ever won first prize in multiple NFA Competitions. She was awarded First Prize in the inaugural Alto Flute Competition (Salt Lake City 2019), First Prize in the Orchestral Audition & Masterclass Competition (San Diego 2016), and was a finalist for the High School Soloist Competition (Charlotte 2011), as well as being named Honorable Mention for Yamaha Young Performing Artists competition in high school.  Katherine’s connection to military bands goes back to 2010, when she was named a finalist for the U.S. Marine Band’s Concerto Competition and performed at the Marine Band’s John Philip Sousa Band Hall. 

MU1 Velasquez Richards has been a trailblazer for innovation in the flute world. She was the Founder and Artistic Director of Virtual Flute Music Festival - a 4-week online music festival that provided world-class instruction focusing on both expertise in playing and courageous thinking through mindset training.  VFMF impacted students and professionals from around the world and continues to serve as a model program for how to foster multi-faceted, thriving artists in today’s society.  Her ideas around courage and building a career can be heard on the Unclassical Musician podcast, and developed from her work as a flute student and her high performance leadership coaching with Elizabeth Rowe, Principal Flute of the Boston Symphony. 

Katherine credits much of the curiosity, resilience, and inspiration that she brings to music to her time spent as a sales professional at tech unicorn Pax8 - where she met leaders, innovators, and thinkers who saw the world just a little differently than she had always known in the music industry.  

MU1 Velasquez Richards holds an MM in Flute Performance from West Texas A&M University and a BM magna cum laude in Flute Performance from Boston University. She was also the Paul Owen McLarand Memorial Music Scholarship Recipient at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and attended the New England Conservatory of Music. She is indebted to her mentors Elizabeth Rowe, Helen Blackburn, Linda Toote, Jim Walker, Paula Robison, and Ann Kjerulf Knien.

Katherine spends her free time thinking big with her husband - percussionist, Matt Richards - and teaching language learning via buttons to their dog, Bella the German Shepherd.