Richard Walter Mintel was a classical music recording engineer and professor of biochemistry. He began his classical music recording career at Quincy Senior High School in Quincy, Illinois, where he participated in band, jazz band, marching band and orchestra. He played trombone and was also the self-taught recording engineer for all these school organizations.
Dick left Quincy for the University of Chicago where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1960 and was a member of Sigma Xi Scientific Honorary Society. He was appointed to a U.S. Health Service Pre-Doctoral Trainee position in 1961 and completed his first year of medical school before entering the PhD program at the University of Chicago in biochemistry, earning his doctorate in 1965. His research interest in biochemistry was enzyme kinetics and mechanisms; his first publication was in the July 1966 issue of the Journal of Biochemistry. The University of Chicago appointed him Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in 1965 where he earned the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. He also taught undergraduate students and medical students at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia and the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois-College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign bestowed upon him the 2001-2002 Teaching Recognition Program Award.
While at the University of Chicago, Dick studied organ, taking lessons from Edward Mondello, organist at Rockefeller Chapel. In 1968 Dick met Thomas Wikman and began recording Wikman’s organ recitals and concerts. When Mr. Wikman founded Chicago’s Music of the Baroque in 1972, Dick recorded the very first concert and continued to record the group’s performances until his death in 2014.
Throughout his life, Dick was a lover of classical music and an active recording engineer, making on-location recordings of many concerts, including those by Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, The Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyoming, The Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and The Connecticut Early Music Festival in Mystic, Connecticut. He had more than 300 radio broadcasts of his work and produced a number of highly acclaimed compact discs including Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin by Chicago’s Music of the Baroque. He was a member of the Audio Engineer Society. As a recording engineer, Dick was entirely self-taught, although partnering with, learning from, and mentoring some of the best recording engineers in the business, was one of his greatest joys. These recording engineers included Rudy Chalupa, Al Antliz, Mitch Heller, Larry Rock, Roar Schaad and Chris Willis. Norman Pelligrini and Ray Nordstrand of WFMT were also instrumental in helping Dick to develop his ear for recorded sound and his musical sensibilities.
Also, Dick had long-term partnerships with several classical musicians, including Thomas Wikman, Ling Tung, Ken Keisler, Igor Kipnis, Mark Wiggelsworth, Sir Mark Elder, Charles Geyer, and Barbara Butler. He regularly attended and supported The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Grant Park Music Festival, and he was a member of the Board of Directors of both the Grand Teton Music Festival and Midwest Young Artists.
He married Judith Ann King July 24, 1971 in Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. Their daughter, Josephine Therese Mintel, was born on June 19, 1991. He died on December 11, 2014.