James Rawie, Conductor & Artistic Director
Photo credit: "Photo by Jen Schmidt" TOCCATA's CONDUCTOR & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JAMES RAWIE, is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the four musical organizations he founded: the Symphonic Chorus of Puerto Rico, Sinfonia-Puerto Rico Chamber Orchestra, Mayormente Mozart Festival, and TOCCATA-Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. California born, his undergraduate years were spent at UC Irvine. He received his B.S. in Psychobiology in 1969. He studied trumpet with Jimmy Sachs, voice with Heyden Blanchard, choral conducting with Maurice Allard, and orchestral conducting with Peter Odegard. His 1979 Master of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting is from SUNY, Stonybrook as a student of David Lawton and Arthur Weisberg. He prepared Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Otto Werner Mueller at Yale-Norfolk, and studied in Berlin, Germany; at the Aspen Music Festival; and ten summers with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival. Maestro Rawie conducted the premieres in Puerto Rico of: Brahms’ Requiem, Mozart's Requiem & C minor Mass; Gounod's Missa Solemnis; Dvorak's Mass in D, and 21 of Bach's cantatas. In 1985 he premiered Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Spanish , celebrating Bach’s tricentennial with 300 singers, the largest performance of a major choral work in the history of Puerto Rico. He has presented most of the Mozart operas and Menotti's Amahl. In 1986 he founded the Luis A. Ferré Piano Competition. He took the Symphonic Chorus on tours to Spain, Catalonia, and Greece, and will take TOCCATA to Italy in 2015. For five years he has been the age group champion in XTERRA Triathlon for the SouthEastern USA division, 2008 National Bronze Medalist, 2012 US National Champion, and is an Ironman.