Lawrence Rapchak is in his twelfth season as Music Director of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra (IL), where, among other major works, he conducted the Chicago-area premieres of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 2 in 2006, Richard Strauss' Panathenaenzug in 2009, and Franz Schmidt's Symphony No. 1 and the Hans Rott Symphony in E Major in 2013. He appeared with The Chicago Symphony and Maestro Christoph von Dohnanyi as
auxiliary conductor in Ives Unanswered Question, and led The Chicago Philharmonic
in three unique educational programs for the Ravinia Festival, one of which featured
an original work of his own which was released on CD.
Mr. Rapchak has served as Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater for five seasons,
conducting the Chicago premieres of Berlioz’s “Beatrice and Benedict”, Ullmann’s “Kaiser of Atlantis” and Hagen’s “Shining Brow”. He conducted COT’s recording of Menotti’s The Medium, of which the British Opera - The Rough Guide said “this performance
is so rivetingly theatrical, and much of the praise should go to Lawrence Rapchak for
his powerfully atmospheric direction,” and Le Monde De La Musique wrote “Lawrence
Rapchak conducts this compact drama perfectly”.
Mr. Rapchak led Copland’s Appalachian Spring for Ravinia’s Kraft Saturday Morning Series
and has conducted the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic, Marion (IN) Philharmonic, as well as
four series of community concerts with The Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He also served as
Principal Guest Conductor of the Northwest Indiana Symphony, Music Director of
Chamber Opera Chicago for eight seasons, and has guest conducted the Czech Radio
Orchestra and the Louisville Orchestra in concerts and recordings of his own works.
His orchestral work Saetas was commissioned and premiered by the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra under Neeme Jarvi in 1997 with Mr. Rapchak serving as cover conductor for those
performances. The same work was subsequently performed by both the Helsinki Philharmonic
and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. His works have also been performed by the Detroit
Symphony, the Omaha Symphony and the National Orchestral Association in Carnegie Hall.
Mr Rapchak's Orloj and the chamber opera The Lifework of Juan Diaz, based on a story by Ray
Bradbury, are also commercially available on CD, both with Mr. Rapchak conducting. He is listed
in the authoritative Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, edited by the late Nicholas
Slonimsky, and is currently in his 20th season as pre-concert speaker for the Chicago Symphony
Mr. Rapchak resides in Whiting, Indiana with his wife, Celeste, and their three whippets, Lucy,
Penny Pasta and Macanudo. He is the son of the late Chicago radio personality Mike Rapchak.