Richter was a professional singer and received a very thorough musical education possibly under Fux's personal supervision in Vienna. He was appointed as a court musician in Mannheim around 1747 and was active both as a singer and composer. Although Richter wrote a significant body of symphonies for the Mannheim orchestra he seems to have been temperamentally and artistically more drawn to the composition of church music. Richter was a noted teacher and among his most famous pupils are J.M. Kraus, H.J. Riegel, Carl Stamitz and Ferdinand Fränzl. In April 1769 he succeeded Joseph Garnier as Kapellmeister at Strasbourg Cathedral, where both his performing and composing activities turned increasingly to sacred music. During his last years Haydn's star pupil Ignaz Pleyel served as his assistant at the cathedral.

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