Born August 2, 1974 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Richard Hallebeek started playing guitar at age 10 and took lessons from local teachers. He formed some local bands and started performing in various jazz and rock groups already at age 12. Completely emerging himself in music as a total guitar-nerd, influences early on were The Beatles, Pat Martino, Allan Holdsworth, Weather Report, Charlie Parker, Eddie Van Halen, Pat Metheny, the radio and every album he could get his hands on at the local library. Already at the age of 17 he was the youngest guitar player ever to be submitted to the Hilversum Conservatory, a conservatory best known for it’s strong jazz history drawing musician’s from all over Europe. Richard studied with jazz legend Wim Overgaauw and graduates with a master’s degree after a 6-year study of jazz, composition and improvisation.
After his graduation, in 1989 Richard joins his first pop group called ‘What A Gig’. Soon after he joins the band, they become the winner of the Dutch ‘Yamaha Band Explosion’ contest. The Yamaha Band Explosion is a world wide talent search for bands writing their own songs. The grand finale was held summer 1989 at the Budokan Hall, Japan, Tokyo. In the jury were a.o. Bon Jovi, Europe singer Joey Tempest and Casiopea guitarist Issei Noro. Hallebeek and his band finished fourth with their song “Question of Love’ and they join Jon Bon Jovi for the encore onstage, together playing The Beatles classic ‘Get Back’
In 1993 Richard was chosen out of more then 350 entries to take part in the International Ibanez Guitar Award with 8 other players to fight for the title of ‘Best All Round Player’. The finale took place in Ahoy, Rotterdam and in the jury were a.o. Alex Skolnick (Testament) and Dutch session ace Lex Bolderdijk. Performing the Jazz Standard ‘Road Song’, the Rock Classic ‘After Midnight’ in an ‘all instrumental’ version and playing an unaccompanied solo, Hallebeek became the second price winner and took home the 2nd price; a little 15 W amp and practised some more.
Besides practising, in the ’90’s Richard plays steady gigs in a variety of different coverbands, he teaches and does countless sessions and studiowork for radio, movies, commercials, (Dutch PTT Phonecompany, Hooghoudt, Region Police, Fokker, etc.etc.) and TV. In 1994 he receives a scholarship for a foreign study from The Prins Bernhard Fonds. At the end of ’94 he leaves to Los Angeles for a one year study at the Musician’s Institute to study arranging, composition and improvisation. He studies guitar with Scott Henderson, Dan Gilbert, TJ Helmerich and Brett Garsed, a.o. He graduates after a year with an honors degree.