Artist Spotlight: Timm Rolek

The question we need to be asking is not “How do we sell Schubert”, but

“What do we do when nobody knows Schubert?”

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       Timm Rolek, Conductor

Rolek was the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor with Sacramento Opera, a post that he retained for twelve seasons. During his tenure, the company grew in ticket sales, revenue and audience. It became necessary for the company to restructure its 2011/12 season in light of the economic downturn. He was on the podium for their 2012 production of Rigoletto. Both the public and the press greeted those performances with enthusiasm. His audiences trust both his repertoire selections and his ability to balance and present casts that offer the best of what is available in up-and-coming artists. His philosophy is that the opera/work is the most important; the casts to populate and sing those works will follow.

2726e2595012029019903a6e0f6cb0edIn addition to his ongoing duties with Sacramento Opera, Maestro Rolek has been a guest  conductor with a number of notable opera companies. He continues his association with  Opera Idaho, first conducting for them in their 2011/12 season and then this past 2012/13  season for a joint production with Ballet Idaho of Pulcinella and I Pagliacci. Other guest  conducting engagements with opera companies have included Nevada Opera, Fargo-  Moorhead Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre, Rimrock Opera, Opera Delaware and  Chautauqua Opera. In addition, he held a staff position with the Minnesota Opera and was  a part of the conducting staff at the Metropolitan-Opera.  In 2011, Sacramento Opera included the company’s first foray into baroque opera with a  production of Handel’s Orlando. During his tenure with Sacramento Opera, he developed  relationships with many directors with whom he collaborated any number of times. For  the 2009/10 season, his selections were L’elisir d’amoreLa Traviata and a double bill,  titled A Russian Affair, that included the best of both Pique Dame and Eugene  Onegin accompanied by narrated portions of the original Pushkin plays to be spoken in  Russian with English subtitles. In fact, this double bill has worked extremely well with  symphony orchestra programming as well. In the 2008/09 season, productions included The Pirates of PenzanceLe nozze di Figaroand La Bohème. This was their first venture into presenting one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s favorite works.Equally at home with symphony orchestra repertoire, Maestro Rolek continues in his role as the Artistic Director and Principle Conductor for the Lake Tahoe Music Festival. And, because of his commitment to education at all levels, he is one of the guest coaches and conductors for the Sacramento Youth Orchestra summer chamber music program. During the summer of 2008 his conducting duties also included collaboration with the Reno Philharmonic. From 1995 until 2005 Maestro Rolek was the Music Director of the Grand Forks Symphony ND. He returned in 2009 for a Baroque program celebrating their 100th anniversary. He formerly served as Music Director of the Heartland Symphony (1993-1998) and has been a guest conductor with a number of symphony orchestras as well.

Timm Rolek’s repertoire is wide-ranging for both the  opera stage and for symphony orchestras. His  recordings include Jerre Tanner’s The Kona Coffee  Cantata with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, and  Joseph Fennimore’sEventide (both on the  Albany/Troy label). He conducted the American  premiere of Ernst Krenek’s Das Geheime  Koenigreich and has participated in the Pierre Boulez  / IRCAM composers and conductors workshop at  Carnegie Hall. Twin Cities Public Television KTCA-2  featured him on their two-time Emmy Award-  winning program Arts on 2. In conjunction with  Northern Lights Public Radio, he produced a nine-part radio-program called Music In Our Century. He has served on a Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest grant panel, Singer Workshop panel for Opera America, has been a frequent judge for competitions including the National Council Auditions for the Metropolitan Opera.

After studying composition at the University of Minnesota, Maestro Rolek studied conducting with Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Neville Marriner, Klaus Tennstedt, and James Levine.  An avid water sports enthusiast, Rolek has participated in both the Alcatraz Swim across San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Cup sailboat race from San Francisco to Hawaii.  He makes his home in Brookings, Oregon where he serves on the city’s Public Art Committee and the county coalition for the Oregon Cultural Trust. Rolek’s first novel, Deceptive Cadence, was released in January 2013.

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