Born : 9th June 1947 - San Francisco, California

Married : 1. Alice Rybak  ( divorced ) ( professional classical pianist )

                2. Katharine "Kitty"  Knight ( professional cellist )


Professor Emeritus of Cello
University of Denver
Lamont School of Music
Denver, Colorado, USA


Richard Slavich & his wife Kitty Knight
Richard Slavich & his wife Kitty Knight




Meher Baba wrote this arti "Bujawe Naar Jallatani" otherwise known as  "Gujerati Arti" on the 11th January 1926.


Oh God command that the fire of our ignorance be extinguished
Your lovers yearn for You to bestow upon them the Light of Faith
Oh Murshed Meher Baba we (your lovers) lay our heads at your Feet
Oh Meher Baba, You have made yourself perfectly aware of your Godhood.
You are the Lord of Truth, You are the Lover and the Beloved in One.
Being the torrent of infinite Knowledge, You are the Ocean of Oneness,
Oh Master, bestow upon us, the wayfarers, the Knowledge of Ezad (the only One worthy of worhsip)
For You, Oh Paramatma are Omniscient and are Divine Knowledge Itself.
Give us to drink of the cup of God's Love that we become intoxicated.
Oh Saki, we offer our lives in sacrifice to You, give us this draught.
Only is You steer our ship while in mid ocean can we remain afloat
Oh Meher Baba, the Captain of our ship, You are our Protector.
Oh Meher Baba, the Captain of our ship, You are our Protector.



 2022 : Richard Slavich ( trimmed image ). Photo taken by Anthony Zois.
2022 : Richard Slavich ( trimmed image ). Photo taken by Anthony Zois.

The following MP3 files feature Richard Slavich performing his own composition " Variations on Meher Baba's Gujerati Art" in a live setting at the University of Denver.

A special thanks for Cliff Hackford's assistance with the transfer of some of the music.



Variations on Meher Baba's Gujerati Arti - January 30, 2014
Gujerati Arti Variations for
MP3 Audio File 16.5 MB
Introduction to the Variations on Meher Baba's Gujerati Arti - Live ; January 18th, 2007
01 Introduction to Gujerati Arti.mp3
MP3 Audio File 3.2 MB
Variations on Meher Baba's Gujerati Arti - Live ; January 18th, 2007
02 Gujerati Arti variations.mp3
MP3 Audio File 7.8 MB



An introduction to Variations on Meher Baba’s Gujerati Arti



On a trip to India in the early 2000s, I made a promise to Baba to write a piece of music for Him.  I was beguiled by the sinuous beauty of the Gujerati Arti melody, and thought that using it as the basis of a composition in the tried and true classical formal structure known as "Theme" and Variations would be something I could manage.  Theme and Variations form is exactly as it sounds: a theme serves as point of departure for any number of variations on that theme.  But at that point, I hit a roadblock.  My own variations, alterations, embellishments seemed trivial, forced, not worthy of their noble theme.  Stymied, I put the project on hold.  The breakthrough came a few years later when my wife Kitty gave me a book analyzing the Bach cello suites in depth.  Aha, what if I found a way of blending Baba and Bach?  Bach’s beloved cello suites present an opening Prelude followed by a series of Renaissance and Baroque era dances. The Gujerati Arti could be the theme, and each variation could be in the style of a Bach dance movement.  Eureka!  Jai Baba!



The finished product I called Variations on Meher Babas Gujerati Arti.  When I performed it in public concert, the program read:


Variations on Meher Baba's Gujerati Arti
Variation 1: Allemande
Variation 2: Courante
Variation 3: Sarabande
Variation 4: Gavotte
Variation 5: Gigue



The variations:



          1) Allemande: A German dance in duple meter, moderate in                       tempo, sober, earnest in character;


          2) Courante: a French/Italian dance in triple meter, fast, high- spirited;


          3) Sarabande: a Spanish dance in triple meter, slow, solemn, introspective;


          4) Gavotte: a French dance in duple meter, moderately fast                        tempo, proud, “rhythmic”;


          5) Gigue: another French dance, but related to the Irish jig, in 6/8 meter, with a characteristic long-short-short rhythmic motive throughout, playful, impulsive.


The piece ends with a Reprise, a return to Baba’s theme, presented now in different registers of the cello. We begin with the melody in its initial iteration, reflective, remembering; continue in a higher register, passionately, with great yearning; and end in the lowest range of the cello, grateful, fulfilled.







Arti Play - Richard Slavich.mp3
MP3 Audio File 18.8 MB
Arti Play.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 19.9 KB

Introduction to “Arti Play”

I wrote “Arti Play”, for cello duo, in 2016, for my wife Kitty Knight. We performed the premiere at the Rocky Mountain Sahavas the same year. The piece is essentially a game of “tag” where the melodies of the Australian and American artis take turns being ”it”.

The piece begins with a very brief intro, where one cello climbs a Major 6th, from D to B,
followed by the other moving up a Perfect 5th, from D to A. These are, of course, the opening intervals of the Australian and American artis, respectively.

Arti Play” then unfolds with 2 iterations of the Australian arti, followed by 2 iterations of the American arti. All is “play”: in addition to the straightforward presentation of the artis as we know them, we hear swirls, an Arabic dance, bird calls, whispers of wind.

Eventually the 2 artis attempt some sort of unison, playing together rather than successively as heretofore. Given that the Australian arti is written in 4/4 meter in the key of G Major, and the American in 6/8 meter in e minor, this proves difficult, problematic.


Both have to adapt to each other, but distortion, discomfort inevitably arise. They square off, asserting and eventually being diminished to their core melodic intervals, as presented at the very beginning of the piece (Australian - Major 6th, American - Perfect 5th). Resolution and unity is finally achieved with the entrance of a third, well known, arti.


Special thanks to James Spear in helping with the audio files.


Gill bio.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 16.8 KB

Gillian Kuroiwa holds degrees in Cello Performance from the University of Denver and Arizona State University. She has performed extensively in Arizona with The Phoenix
Symphony, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera, West Valley Symphony, and Tucson Repertory Orchestra, with whom she toured Japan for a series of concerts in 2015.

She now enjoys teaching a full roster of students in the Denver metro area.

Richard Slavich is grateful for her generosity in joining him for this recording of Arti Play.


The following sound files have Richard Slavich playing Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine", Meher Baba's favourite song, in different settings.


Richard Slavich, Cello
Kitty Knight, Cello
Recording Engineer : Pete Hellyer
Mix & Mastering : Jeff Deloe
Begin the Beguine ( Cole Porter ).mp3
MP3 Audio File 6.5 MB
BEGIN THE BEGUINE ( Cole Porter ) - Meherazad - 31st July 1988
Richard Slavich, Cello
Alice Rybak, Piano
03 Porter - Begin the Begiune.mp3
MP3 Audio File 3.6 MB
Richard on stage
Richard on stage


Cellist Richard Slavich is a concert artist of vast experience, having appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Colorado Symphony and National Repertory Orchestras.  He has performed in recital throughout the US, in venues ranging from Chicago's Orchestra Hall and Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center to rural elementary schools in South Carolina.  As winner of the United States Information Agency's "Artistic Ambassador" competition, Mr. Slavich presented 5 weeks of concerts, master classes, and radio broadcasts throughout Asia.  A highlight of his concert career was a performance of the entire set of Bach solo cello suites during the 1999-2000 concert season.




             An avid chamber music player, he has performed hundreds of chamber music recitals, most notably as cellist of the Denver Trio, as frequent guest with the DaVinci Quartet, and in faculty chamber concerts at the prestigious Montecito Summer Music Festival in Santa Barbara, CA.  Mr. Slavich and his wife, professional cellist Katharine Knight, form the mischievously named cello duo Hot Celli”.




            Mr. Slavichs began his professional career with a three year engagement with the Nuremberg, Germany Symphony Orchestra.  Other orchestral experience includes service in the National Repertory, Colorado Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, and Boulder Bach Festival Orchestras.




            Mr. Slavich served as Professor of Music at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music  for almost four decades, retiring in 2014.  Chair of the string department, he directed the cello and chamber music programs, and each year offered a ten-week seminar exploring strategies to combat stage fright”.  He has presented cello master-classes throughout the US, and in Canada, India, Thailand , and Malaysia.  His essay A Players Guide to the Popper Etudes” appeared in the May 2001 American String Teachers Journal.  After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in History from Stanford University, he earned his music degrees from the prestigious Indiana University School of Music, which awarded him the accolade "Graduate with Highest Distinction".  His teachers include Fritz Magg, Janos Starker, Frank Miller, Menahem Pressler, and William Primrose. 




            Mr. Slavichs first CD An American Cellobration explores the music of five contemporary American composers and is available on the Crystal Records label (CD639).  A second CD Cello Meditations explores spiritual dimensions of the cellos voice in works by composers ranging from Bach to Messiaen. 




Richard Slavich
Richard Slavich

In the following video, Richard is giving a class at the start of the music summit.







with Theodore Lichtmann, piano




Sales outlet : CD Baby


  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B000CAJNTC




Back cover
Back cover



An American Cellobration


Richard Slavich & Alice Rybak




Sales outlet : Crystal Records








Ivan Sokolov, Karen Bentley Pollick, Basil Vendryes & Richard Slavich (Artist)




Sales outlets : CD Baby & Amazon



Richard's coming to Baba


I first heard about Meher Baba from my brother Ben.  I was living in Germany in the mid-1970s when he wrote to me about Meher Baba, his new found guru, his Master.  My initial reaction was my usual scoffing: “Oh, what has Benny gotten himself into now?  Doesn’t he realize that the only thing you can really trust is your own will, your own inner strength?”   Clearly I belonged to the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” school of spiritual thought at that point.  I happened to be going through girlfriend problems just then, so Ben sent me a Baba Discourse titled “The Problem of Sex”.  Baba’s argument was that sex in and of itself was not so much the problem, as the craving for sex.  Thus neither repression nor indulgence was really going to make one happy in the long run; one had to come to terms with one’s cravings.  Well, golly, that seemed pretty logical to me, maybe this guy had something to offer after all.  When I moved back to America in 1977, I had the joy of spending the first several months with Benny and his girlfriend Rita in Rochester, NY.  We would read Baba’s God Speaks from time to time, rolling on the floor in laughter at the audacity and magnitude of Baba’s cosmological vision.  I remember visiting my Mormon friends Steve and Carole Harlos in LA, and getting into one of those “meaning of life” discussions with them.  I found myself saying, “Well, my brother follows this Indian master Meher Baba who says…”  My intellectual appreciation for Meher Baba had done nothing but grow over the several years since I first heard His name, but I had not yet established a heart connection with Him.



In 1984, once again Ben helped bring me closer to Meher Baba.  I had made plans to spend some time at an artist’s retreat in California to study Beethoven’s cello sonatas in depth, the project the focus of my first sabbatical leave at DU.  When my stay was abruptly cancelled (“oh, you musicians make too much noise and bother our other guests”),  I told Ben about my dilemma, on sabbatical, but without a concrete plan for it.  Ben said he knew a fellow Baba-lover named Frank McNutt who was a member of the South Carolina Arts Council and who might be able to help out.  To make a long story short, Frank arranged a week-long residency for my wife Alice and me in and around Myrtle Beach, where we were asked to play three public recitals and to visit several poor, mostly black schools.  He asked us if we would like to stay at the Meher Spiritual Center during our stay.  Not wanting to misrepresent ourselves, we said that we knew about Meher Baba, but couldn’t really call ourselves followers.  That seemed to be OK with the Center administration, as long as we assured them that we hadn’t done any drugs in the past 6 months.  When we arrived at the airport, Frank picked us up, and, in conversation, we quickly learned that he too had been a VISTA volunteer in the late 1960s.  In the extremely small world department, it turned out that Frank had made a good connection with the Black Peace Stone Nation, whose security force had made for a rather scary moment early in my VISTA training.  When the “Foreign Minister” learned I was in VISTA, he relaxed, saying he knew a good dude just north of his neighborhood.  It was Frank!  When we arrived at the Center, we checked in with Jane Haynes, an enormously attractive and sophisticated former actress, who was one of the directors.  We told her of our project.  She asked, “Are you getting paid?”  We said yes.  She looked up for a long moment, then said, “Fine, no problem, welcome.  Remember, Baba is always present here; he never leaves his Home in the West.”



So began our glorious stay at the Center.  We were assigned to the Lantern Cabin, sharing the family space with Rita and Jessica.  Pete Townsend has written a song about that wonderful cabin; scores of visits to the Center later, I’ve never been lucky enough to “score” that cabin again!  Days were spent visiting schools in the morning, resting and relaxing at the Center in the afternoons, and concerts in the evenings.




What can I say about the Center?  It is one of my favorite places on the planet.  Situated directly on the ocean, with over a mile of beach front, the property is about 500 acres in size, heavily wooded, with two fresh water lakes, one of which, Long Lake, is quite large.  Cabins dot the central section  of the campus, nestled in the trees.  To drive into the grounds from busy Highway 17 is to travel from the busy, distracted world to peace, quiet, a place of restoration of the spirit.  Three buildings with particular spiritual charge are: Baba’s House, where he stayed on his three visits to the Center in the 1950s; the Lagoon Cabin, where He met with guests one-on-one; and the Barn, where larger group meetings were held.  In each place, silence is requested, which helps create an atmosphere of profound introspection and inner communication with the Lord.




One night, we were asked to play an extra concert, a benefit for the local Suzuki group at the home of a Baba Lover who lived adjacent to the Center.  What an atmosphere of warmth and acceptance!  I had never encountered such an audience before, focused, wanting to be there, deeply appreciative.  I felt no judgement whatsoever.  I was so moved, I cried in gratitude during the short intermission. 




Another night we played a couple of pieces at the Meeting Place on the Center.  This might have been at the request of Kitty Davy, an elderly disciple of Baba, who had lived with Him in India for 15 years, and who had been a mainstay at the Center since 1952.  Kitty had grown up in London, loved classical music, was trained as a pianist (she taught Gustav Holst’s children at one point), and missed live classical music very much.  After finishing a short Bach piece, while bowing, I glanced over to see Kitty’s reaction.  Dazzling diamonds were pouring out of her eyes.  Oh, what an interesting trick of light, said I to myself, and looked over again.  Hmmm, still there.  Hmmm.




The turning point of my spiritual life, my St. Paul on the road to Damascus moment, came one day on a walk to the Barn.  I was enjoying the beauty of the woods, the peace of the Center, when my footsteps became more and more difficult.  I felt like I was walking in deep sand.  Suddenly Baba was present; He put his arm around my shoulder.  The gist of what He said to me was: “You don’t have to carry your burden alone any longer.  I am with you always, have always been with you.  Let go of your need to project strength, to go through life alone.  I am with you, I will help.”  My life changed forever at that moment.  I cannot describe the warmth, love, majesty, purity of His presence.  It is the greatest gift I have ever received.  Having tried many paths the first 36 years of my life, I had finally come Home.




2022 : Richard on the Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, Sth. Carolina. Photo taken by Anthony Zois.
2022 : Richard on the Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, Sth. Carolina. Photo taken by Anthony Zois.







Discourses of Upasni Maharaj

Upasni Maharaj





Narrated by the late Jim Lyons and Bhujor Bode. Original songs and music by John Murphy, Jedd Tyler, Richard Slavich, Kitty Knight and Oklahuma. Original artwork by Lisa Nelson, and Suresh P. Raut.

Produced and Edited by Robert Fredericks, 2007



Richard Slavich & Kitty Knight both performed for the music on this DVD & Video, specifically, his arrangement of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine", which is located at 57 minutes.


The video was written and produced in 2003 by Peter Nordeen, this excellent, biographical documentary is also a good introduction to the life and work of Avatar Meher Baba. 65 minutes.


Check Peter's web site :

Richard Slavich, Cello
Kitty Knight, Cello
Recording Engineer : Pete Hellyer
Mix & Mastering : Jeff Deloe
Begin the Beguine ( Cole Porter ).mp3
MP3 Audio File 6.5 MB