Nationally he is known for his scores for the Oscar winning film Inocente and Nickelodean and VH-1 shows. In the Pittsburgh Tri-State area Witkowski is known to thousands of Pittsburgh area music fans with his annual energetic performances at the B.E. Taylor Christmas show at Heinz Hall and other regional venues. Nationally he is also known as a guitarist and song writer with the band Crack the Sky.
As a guitarist Witkowski has recorded and toured the U.S. with the legendary progressive rock band Crack the Sky, B.E. Taylor, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, and the Michael Smith Band. Rick is also a member of the Pittsburgh All Star band along with Donnie Iris, Joe Grushecky, Hermie Granati and others. Rick has performed with Bruce Springsteen and Joe Grushecky in concerts in Pittsburgh at the Light of Day concerts at the Stone Pony.
Witkowski's original song "Vitamin L "was a hit across the U.S. on radio and MTV. His work as a songwriter began in Crack the Sky with the album "Safety in Numbers". As a recording engineer he as produced sessions with Bruce Springsteen, Joe Grushechy, The Clarks, Donnie Iris, B.E. Taylor, singer-comedian Mark Eddie, and more.
They signed with Sweet City Records / MCA and released the album “Innermission" in 1982 and "Love Won The Fight" in 1983. Signing with Epic/CBS Records they release “Our World 1986. Rick and his wife Deborah co-wrote the song "Vitamin L" that reached no. 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 as that was aired on MTV. Rick appeared on and engineered B.E. Taylor's 1997 Chrishae Records release "Try Love " that featured the hit single "This Time," which was played in 100 markets and charted at #29 on Gavin's Adult Contemporary Chart. Witkowski engineered and appeared on the two 2007 B.E Taylor Christmas CDs. Rick performs a starring role in the annual B.E.Taylor Christmas concert tours.
Academy Award Winning Film Inocente
In 2012 Witkowski wrote the score for the award winning inspirational documentary "Inocente" that follows the 15 year old homeless artist Inocene on her quest to become an artist. The film won the Academy Award for best Dramatic Short. It also won several film festival awards and was shown on MTV in August of 2012. It won the Best Documentary Short at the San Antonio Film Festival, the Special Jury Prize at the Arizona International Film Festival, and the Spirit Award at the Awareness Festival.
Witkowski was asked to write the Inocente film score in December of 2011 by the film's executive producer, Albie Hecht. He had worked with Hecht on the theme songs for the Nickelodeon shows "Figure It Out," "Family Double Dare," "Guts" and "Action League Now". The Inocente directors Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine were nominated for an Academy Award for their previous film "War Dance."
Witkowski collaborated with 18 year old singer Vanessa Campagne to compose, arrange, perform and record the music at his Studio L in Weirton. Rick attended the premiere screening in New York where he the film's star and directors. He also attend a screening at Cleveland Film Festival.
As owner of Studio L Rick has produced many artist recordings including: Donnie Iris, Joe Grushecky (including his "Live at Nick's Fat City" CD with Bruce Springsteen), The Clarks (Ill Tell You What Man and Live), Dom Liberati, Sarah Marince, Dharma Sons, Push, Brownie Mary, The Distractions, Bitter Delores, Stone Soup, Wade, The Michael Smith Band, Mark Eddie and many more.
Witkowski performed on the album and videos of the Michael Smith band that won the Los Angeles Music Award for "Music Video of the Year" and received the Hollywood F.A.M.E. Star Career Achievement Award in 2010.
As a guitarist Rick performs in concert with both Crack the Sky, the B.E. Taylor band, and Joe Grushechy and the Houserockers.