Richard Gillis studied at The University of Saskatchewan (B.Mus.), The Banff Centre (Canadian Brass), and The University of Michigan (M.Mus.. DMA), as well as privately with Armando Ghitalla, Vincent Cichowicz and James Stamp. While working on his DMA Richard had the opportunity to perform with the University of Michigan faculty brass quintet, with Armando Ghitalla. After completing graduate work, Richard came to the University of Manitoba where he is brass chair.
Richard is the artistic director of the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, which he co-founded in 1997, and performs with various ensembles.
Since 2000 Richard has performed internationally with Icelandic guitarist Björn Thoroddsen, with whom he has recorded eight CDs (with three recognitions from the Icelandic Music Awards) and performed at jazz festivals and other venues in United States, Iceland and Canada.