About Wesley Schulz
Rodeo & New World Symphony
Written by two composers greatly influenced by the American landscape and lifestyle, Rodeo and New World Symphony juxtapose different experiences and sounds of America. In the words of Wesley Schulz:
"In picking music for this concert I wanted pieces that would resonate with as wide an audience as possible. I really feel that everyone, no matter how little or how much you listen to classical music, can enjoy the performance of a live orchestra. For me music is about the journey. In a live performance you can watch the musicians and see how they interact with one another, the music and the conductor. You can listen to how a melody gets passed around and transformed. You can sense the emotion behind the notes and imagine what the composer may be trying to tell us.
From the first notes of Copland’s ballet music for Rodeo you should feel like you’re in the middle of a giant party. Go ahead, yell “yeehaww” if you feel the need! Even if you’ve never heard of this ballet, if you watched TV in the 1990s then you know some of the music. Just think: 'Beef! It’s what’s for dinner.'
Dvorak’s New World Symphony has a bounty of memorable themes. Although he was a Czech composer through and through, he was inspired by his time spent in the United States when he wrote this symphony. The lyrical second movement with its extended solo for English Horn (an instrument of the oboe family) can bring people to tears. But no worries, we’ll dry your eyes with the heart-pounding exuberance of the last movement!"
Wesley led the orchestra in these fantastic works, as well as Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, with Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir on the cello, on Sunday the 8th.
Wesley Schulz is the newly appointed Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony. In this position he conducts classical, pops, education, community, holiday and summer concerts at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh as well as venues throughout the state. Schulz was previously Music Director and Conductor of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Festival Orchestra and Director of Orchestras at University of Puget Sound. Schulz debuted with the Seattle Symphony in 2015 in a sold out performance with singer and songwriter Gregory Allan Isakov. He was re-invited to Seattle Symphony Orchestra to conduct a collaborative concert with singer and songwriter Amos Lee as well as to conduct for the Young Composers Workshop. Schulz is a regular guest conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra where he leads family and educational performances that reach over 20,000 students annually.
For six seasons Schulz led the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra in record setting growth and development. Together they set attendance and fundraising records, commissioned three world premieres including a work by Christopher Theofanidis, devised new artistic programs and collaborated with a host of artistic organizations ranging from the Bainbridge Chorale to the EDGE Improv troupe. In 2010 Schulz and his former chamber orchestra, the Texas Chamber Group, won the American Prize in Orchestral Performance for their special performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. One judge commented “astonishingly good and…extremely impressive in almost every detail.” From 2009 to 2013 Schulz was the assistant conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. Schulz was responsible for programming and conducting the annual Symphony Pops concert in addition to assisting the Music Director in the Classical Series. Through creative programming and energetic performances, Schulz and the orchestra transformed the Pops concert into the most highly attended program at the Britt Classical Festival – growing the number of attendees from 400 to over 2,000.
Upcoming and recent conducting engagements include the North Carolina Symphony, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Venice Symphony Orchestra, Lake Washington Symphony, Round Rock Symphony, Auburn Symphony, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra and the Juneau Symphony. Schulz graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Education from Ball State University and Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin. When not on the podium, Schulz can be seen hitting the pavement in preparation for his next marathon.
As Music Director for both the Bainbridge Symphony and University of Puget Sound's orchestras, Wesley Schulz got to do a fair bit of commuting. But for a combined performance of Mahler's First Symphony, the orchestras had the opportunity to share the experience. After rehearsing separately, they came together for performances on Bainbridge as well as at UPS to create the powerful sound needed for the Mahler.
In Schulz's own words, "The concert was a powerful display of teamwork, flexibility and a high level of musicianship. I am very proud of what those musicians accomplished and was thrilled they were rewarded with a standing room only crowd that went nuts after the performance."