Edward Markward, a conductor and professor of music at Rhode Island College, recently began his 40th year as the leader of the Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra. Markward, who also serves as co-director of the RIC Opera Workshop and music director of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, has been praised as a champion of contemporary music. He holds a B.M.E. and M.M. from Drake University in addition to a DMA from the University of Michigan.
PBN: How does it feel to wrap up your fourth decade of leading the Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra?
MARKWARD: It is clearly a joy to do this, as well as conduct the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, which I have done for 25 years. Each day I am faced with musical decisions, both old and new, about works I have conducted before and works I have never seen – or perhaps a world premiere.
PBN: Is there a particular piece you enjoy conducting most?
MARKWARD: It is very difficult to pick out one piece, say one symphony by Beethoven over the other eight, or one composer over another. It may sound like a cliché, but whatever I’m working on at the moment or am thinking about performing in the future are truly the things that are my favorites.
PBN: What can symphony-goers look forward to hearing this season?
MARKWARD: This is a banner year for us – they all seem to be in one way or another. … We began in October with pianist Michael Boriskin performing Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a work never before heard in Rhode Island. Our next concert, Dec. 3, features three faculty colleagues (Mary Ellen Kregler, John Sumerlin and Stephen Martorella) in J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. Also on the program is Schumann’s 3rd Symphony, “The Rhenish.” March 3 brings our first ever performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” in its 100th birthday year. We are also pleased to present one of the world’s greatest French hornist, Eric Ruske, in Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto. •