Lawrence Rapchak is in his tenth season as Music Director of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, where he has presented numerous Chicagoland first performances, including the Symphony No. 2 and Michelangelo Suite of Shostakovich, the Irish Rhapsody No. 4 of Stanford, the Hummel Piano Concerto in B Minor and, in May of 2009, the Panathenaenzug of Richard Strauss. He served for five seasons as Music Director of the Chicago Opera Theater, conducting the Chicago premieres of Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict and Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis as well as the company’s acclaimed recording of Menotti’s The Medium. Opera-The Rough Guide (London) said of this recording: "....it is the tightness of the ensemble that makes this performance so rivetingly theatrical, and much of the praise should go to Lawrence Rapchak for his powerfully atmospheric direction."
Mr. Rapchak has served as Director of Educational Projects for the Chicago Philharmonic, conducting Stravinsky’s complete Firebird ballet and Berlioz’s Symphonic Fantastique as part of the Ravinia Festival’s Outreach program. He also led Copland’s Appalachian Spring for Ravinia’s Kraft Saturday Morning Series. He has conducted outreach concerts for the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Marion (IN) Philharmonic, and has led the Czech Radio Orchestra of Prague and the Louisville Orchestra in concerts and recordings of his own works. As a composer, Mr. Rapchak's Saetas was written on commission from the Chicago Symphony, after which it was performed by the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Symphony. His music has also been performed by the Detroit Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, and the National Orchestral Association in Carnegie Hall. His opera The Lifework of Juan Diaz, based on a short story by Ray Bradbury, was premiered by Chamber Opera Chicago and released commercially on the Albany label. He most recently composed a new work for the Chicago Symphony’s Welcome Yule concerts. Mr. Rapchak is listed in the authoritative Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, and is currently in his 17th season as pre-concert speaker for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He lives in Whiting, Indiana with his wife Celeste and their three whippets, Elvis, Lucille,and June Bug.
This biography is based on information provided by the artist, ensemble or representatives thereof and may only be as current as the artist’s or ensemble’s most recent performance at Symphony Center.