Saturday, October 29, 2016, 3:00 PM
New Hope Presbyterian Church

Sunday, October 30, 2016, 3:00 PM
Plymouth Congregational Church

Wesley Schulz, conductor
Rick Rowley, piano

MENDELSSOHN Piano Concerto No. 1, G minor
RACHMANINOFF Symphony No. 2, E minor

Seattle Festival Orchestra starts its season with a bang with Mendelssohn’s brilliant Piano Concerto No. 1. Written when Mendelssohn was just 21 years old, this work soon became one of his most popular pieces. The concerto is in three connected movements and is filled with tuneful melodies and dazzling piano virtuosity. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 takes up the second half of the program. With the spectacular failure of his First Symphony it is a wonder that the Second was ever written. After battling depression and self-doubt, however, the composer emerged with a work that proved his immense talent. Composed on an epic scale, the Second Symphony displays Rachmaninoff’s mastery of form, melody and orchestral color.

Rick Rowley, pianist

Rick Rowley leads a diverse artistic life. He has given concerts with many of the world’s finest instrumentalists and singers and his solo, concerto and collaborative performances have taken him throughout the United States, to Europe and Latin America. He has also taught, performed and directed in summer festivals for the French-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg and France, as well as numerous festivals in the United States. This summer Mr. Rowley began a series performing and videoing the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas for Mozart Festival Texas over the next few years.

Mr. Rowley has recorded highly praised solo discs of Chopin, Liszt, Mompou, Granados and American composers Richard Cumming, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and David Guion. He has also recorded several discs of chamber music and songs for voice and piano. His recording with flutist, Marianne Gedigian, “Revolution”, was one of the first CD’s on the University of Texas Longhorn Label.

Mr. Rowley has been on the Faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in the Butler School of Music for the past eleven years. In his position he coaches singers, works with collaborative pianists and has taught classes in art song literature, the history of Broadway and acting and singing for the musical theater. He also serves as Artistic Director of the Butler Opera Center Young Artists Program. He has performed with nearly every member of the BSOM faculty and has organized chamber orchestra concerts for performances of Beethoven's 3rd and 4th piano concerti and piano concerti of Mozart. In recent seasons he has performed Beethoven’s “Choral” Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra with Gerhardt Zimmermann and the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, as well as Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety”. His performance of Schumann’s C major Fantasy, Op. 17, not only won the Austin Critics’ Table award for Instrumentalist of the Year, but was also named one of the 10 Best Performances of Music and Dance by the Austin Chronicle.

In addition to a musical career, Mr. Rowley has been involved in over fifty theatrical productions as actor, musical director and director. His last appearance was as Cosme McMoon, pianist to famed “non-soprano” Florence Foster Jenkins, in the play “Souvenir”. He performed speaking roles for two Austin Symphony “Beyond the Score” performances, including Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony and as Stravinsky for the presentation of “The Rite of Spring”.  He also performed the solo actor version of Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du soldat” with Dan Welcher and the UT New Music Ensemble. He appeared in the role of Frosch for the Butler Opera Center’s production of “Die Fledermaus” to great acclaim and created Herr Budweiser, a character who sang Gershwin’s “By Strauss” for the gala scene of the opera.