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
Principal Opera Coach, Lecturer in Opera Studies
“Technically nimble and supportive pianist” (New York Times), “accompanist with wondrous tact and virtuosity” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “Extraordinarily sensitive collaborative synch throughout the evening” (VOICE Magazine) Tamara Sanikidze gave her first performance with the Georgian Symphony Orchestra at age eight and has since appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout the Republic of Georgia, Russia, Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Since 2009, in capacity of an official pianist for Plácido Domingo’s annual World Opera Competition “Operalia” Dr. Sanikidze has performed in such renown opera houses as Hungarian State Opera house in Budapest, Hungary, La Scala in Milano, Italy, Galina Vishnevskaya’s Opera Centre in Moscow, Russia, Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, Italy, Royal Opera house in London, UK, Dorothy Chandler Auditorium in Los Angeles, USA and Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Mexico.
As a winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award for Excellence in Vocal Accompanying she has performed regularly in the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s “The Song Continues…” and “On the Wings of Song”. Active Song Recitalist she has partnered with such luminaries as Thomas Hampson, Nino Machaidze, Isabel Leonard, Quinn Kelsey, Marjorie Owens, Elizabeth Futral, Nicole Cabell, Leah Crocetto, Nadine Sierra and Amanda Majeski in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and other prestigious venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. By the special invitation, she has traveled to Beijing, China to perform with Mo. Plácido Domingo and also has performed at the White House for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.
Between 2007- 2012 Tamara Sanikidze was a Young Artist Coach at the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera and an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera, where she served as an Assistant Conductor and Coach for productions of Don Giovanni (Mo. Plácido Domingo), Rigoletto (Mo. Giovanni Reggioli), Hansel and Gretel (Mo. Steven Gathman), La Traviata (Mo. Plácido Domingo and Mo. Dan Ettinger), Carmen (Mo. Julius Rudel), Turandot (Mo. Keri-Lynn Wilson), Falstaff (Mo. Sebastian Lang-Lessing), La fanciulla del West (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), Aida (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), The Makropulos case (Mo. Jiří Bělohlávek), Die Walküre (Mo. Donald Runnicles), Carmen (Mo. Nicola Luisotti), and Xerxes (Mo. Patrick Summers).
Upon finishing the prestigious Adler Fellowship Program, Dr. Sanikidze joined the Music Staff at both San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera where she is working closely with Mo. Plácido Domingo, Mo. James Conlon and Mo. Nicola Luisotti. In the capacity of a Pianist, Prompter, Coach and an Assistant Conductor she has prepared and performed a wide range of operatic repertoire, including Simon Boccanegra starring Plácido Domingo, Tosca, Der fliegende Holländer, La Cenerentola, Falstaff, Evgeny Onegin, Die Zauberflöte, Billy Budd, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, Un ballo in maschera, Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Aida.
She will be returning to 2017-2018 season of San Francisco Opera as a prompter for the production of Turandot under Mo. Nicola Luisotti and as an assistant conductor and coach for the production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle under Mo. Donald Runnicles.
Dr. Sanikidze is a prize-winner of numerous International Piano competitions. She has received top scholarships, including a personal scholarship from the former president of the Republic of Georgia Edward Schevardnadze. She has also received the Vocal Piano Fellowship Award from the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and participated in summer programs at Wolf Trap Opera Company, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, SongFest, Cleveland Art Song Festival and Aspen Music Festival. She has made several recordings for the Excelsior label and her performances have been broadcast on NPR, as well as Georgian and Russian National Television and Radio.
Sought after for her coaching skills and extensive experience, Dr. Sanikidze has been invited to work with young singers at the Merola Opera Program, the San Francisco Conservatory, Wolf Trap Opera Center and the Young Artist Programs both at Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera.
In January of 2015, Dr. Sanikidze joined the faculty of Butler School of Music at University of Texas, Austin, where she is the Principal Coach of Butler Opera Center.
Also in 2015 Dr. Sanikidze joined Voice Department faculty at Music Academy of the West.
Tamara Sanikidze holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.