Senior Lecturer, Vocal Accompanying
Rick Rowley leads a diverse artistic life. He has given concerts with many of the world’s finest instrumentalists and singers and his performances have taken him throughout the United States, to Europe and Latin America. He has also taught and performed in the summer festivals for the French-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg and France, as well as numerous festivals in the United States. He 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 ten 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 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. His recent performance of Schumann’s C major Fantasy, Op. 17, won the Austin Critics’ Table awards for Instrumentalist of the Year. He has previously performed with Gerhardt Zimmermann and the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra in Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety”.
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, most recently, 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, along with Dr. Robert DeSimone, created Herr Budweiser, a character who sang Gershwin’s “By Strauss” for the gala scene of the opera.
Music Director & Conductor, Butler Opera Center
The recipient of a 2009 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award for young conductors, Kelly Kuo is entering his second season as both Artistic Director of the Oregon Mozart Players and Music Director and Conductor of the Butler Opera Center at The University of Texas at Austin. Praised as a versatile musician with a diverse repertoire including 75 operas, his work has been described as “colorful and judiciously paced” (Jay Harvey Upstage), a “pleasure to hear” (Anchorage Daily News) and “showing as high a level of ensemble cohesiveness as anyone could demand” (The Register Guard).
Kuo’s recent engagements include debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Cincinnati Opera. His 2013-14 season includes leading the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s opera, A Woman in Morocco, returning to Anchorage Opera for a new version of Die Fledermaus, and acting as cover conductor for Peter Oundjian with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
In his first year as Artistic Director of the Oregon Mozart Players, Kuo’s artistic vision widened the ensemble’s repertoire to include more recent compositions of Gorecki, Harbison and Golijov in addition to celebrating the familiar by introducing a number of works by Mozart, Haydn, Vivaldi, and Rossini which had never been performed by the group in its history. Their performances have received consistently excellent reviews recognizing the immediate growth of the ensemble and in his last collaboration with the ensemble, Kelly was lauded for having “transformed this chamber group into…a band of professional, enthusiastic and superior musicians, playing confidently as one unit” (The Register Guard).
Prior to his current positions, Mr. Kuo was Music Director of the Xavier University Chamber Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and, for five years, Assistant Conductor and Artistic Administrator for Opera Pacific. Other engagements have included the Beijing National Centre for the Arts, Festival Euro Mediterraneo, the Lexington Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. He has also conducted operas for Kentucky Opera, Anchorage Opera, Eugene Opera, Lyric Opera San Diego, New England Conservatory, and New York Harlem Production’s Porgy and Bess in Hamburg, Munich, and Las Palmas.
Still active as a keyboardist, his recent performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 was described as having been played “with untiring deliberation, especially drawing in the audience during the extended cadenza of the first movement” (The Register Guard) and in his collaboration with the Lexington Philharmonic’s performances of The Four Seasons, “Kuo’s elegant work at the harpsichord was superb. In fact, the most beautiful moment of the entire concert was the second movement of “Fall,” with Kuo’s ravishing solos on the harpsichord’s lute setting” (Lexington Herald-Leader).
Kelly holds a Master in Music in Piano from the Manhattan School of Music, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon where he majored in both music and Chinese, and is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. A native of Oregon, he began his musical studies on the violin at the age of five, made his debut as a piano soloist with the Walla Walla Symphony five years later. He counts among his mentors Byron Janis and Dean Kramer, both students of the Russian piano virtuoso, Vladimir Horowitz.
Mr. Kuo’s website is: www.kellykuo.com