CBA Symphony Orchestra Music Director/Resident Conductor
Founding Music Director and Conductor, Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra
Hailed as “a musician’s musician” by Copland Award-winning composer, Judith Zaimont, David Katz is one of the most versatile performing artists currently working in the Chicago area. Now celebrating his 34th season as the founding music director of The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, Katz has led Chicagoland’s unique all-lawyer ensemble nearly two hundred times during his long tenure, in repertoire ranging from Trial By Jury
, (the first performances of Gilbert & Sullivan’s courtroom operetta ever presented in a working courtroom with a cast and orchestra made up entirely of legal professionals) to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9
, as well as major orchestral and choral-orchestral works by Brahms, Britten, Bruckner, Dvorak, Haydn, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Poulenc, Respighi, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and scores of others.
Katz and the CBASO, joined by the CBA Chorus and guest choirs, nearly three hundred musicians in all, presented Orff's Carmina Burana
to a capacity crowd at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, in celebration of the CBASO's 25th season in 2011. The ensemble returned to Symphony Center for Something Wonderful!, an all-Rodgers & Hammerstein concert, in spring 2015, and made a third appearance at Symphony Center in a program called “Ode to Joy,” in June 2019.
David Katz has led more than sixty orchestras and opera companies throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico as guest conductor, including concerts with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony and the Corpus Christi Symphony. Former associate conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra under Margaret Hillis, and for twelve years music director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra and co-founder of OPERA!Lenawee in Michigan, Katz is currently artistic director of Hat City Music Theater, Inc., in Connecticut, where he is founder and chief judge of The American Prize national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts. In 2019, Katz received the Hartt School Alumni Award from his alma mater at the University of Hartford, and in 2016 was honored by Musical America as a “Top Professional of the Year” for his work creating and sustaining The American Prize. TAP has attracted thousands of contestants from all fifty states and awarded nearly $100,000 in prize money to performing artists nationwide since its creation.
A professional playwright, actor and arts advocate, Katz tours internationally in his acclaimed one-man play, MUSE of FIRE
, about the secrets of conducting. He has presented the play scores of times throughout the Midwest, Northeast, and in Canada, including an extended engagement in Chicago. Two books by David Katz, Muse of Fire: A Symposium on the Art of Conducting
, and Bruck Stories
, a companion volume, will be published by Del Gatto Press next year. Katz is also at work on Wonderful Counsellor
, a memoir about three decades of music-making with Chicago lawyers.
David Katz holds baccalaureate and master’s degrees in composition and conducting from the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford. He was a student of the great Lithuanian maestro, Vytautas Marijosius, and was the first in the school’s history to be awarded an Artist’s Diploma in Conducting. Katz also studied for five years under Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, in Maine, and later founded Opera Maine, the Monteux Opera Festival, and the Chamber Orchestra of Maine. He has partnered such artists as Itzhak Perlman and Misha Dichter in concert and worked with some of the greatest twentieth century composers, including William Schuman, Hans Werner Henze, Milton Babbitt and Elliott Carter. Katz’s own compositions are published by Carl Fischer and G. Schirmer, among others.
Resident Conductor, Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra
Newly appointed Resident Conductor of the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, Marek Rachelski enjoys a rich variety in his musical life as conductor, pianist/harpsichordist and as collaborative artist in recital. Marek holds degrees from Northwestern University, Wayne State University and the Academy of Music in Prague HAMU. He has appeared with orchestras in the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Canada and the USA, and has served on the faculties of Loyola University and De Paul University.
He is the Artistic Director of Musica Lumina Ensemble and Conductor/Founder of the Niles Metropolitan Chorus. In four seasons the NMC/ML has performed major works of the repertoire: Requiems of Mozart
, Faure, Rutter; the Magnificats of Pärt
, Bach and Pergolesi; Haydn’s Creation
, Rossini’s Stabat Mater
, Mendelssohn’s Elijah
, a yearly Handel’s Messiah
, and the St. John Passion of J. S. Bach
. Past Music Director of Opera Las Vegas, he accompanied aria recitals and conducted complete staged performances of Puccini’s La Boheme
, Donizetti’s L'elisir d'amore
, Mollicone’s The Face on the Barroom Floor
and a Puccini 150th celebrating operas of Puccini including excerpts from La Boheme
, Madama Butterfly
, Manon Lescaut
, La Fanciulla del West
, La Rondine
, and Gianni Schicchi
He founded the Las Vegas Diocesan Cathedral Choir and the Las Vegas Peoples Valley Chorus which performed Requiems
by Faure, Rutter and Brahms, Handel’s Judas Maccabeus
, Mendelssohn’s Elijah
, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Vespers
, Rossini’s Stabat Mater
, Vivaldi Juditha Triumphans
and a yearly Handel’s Messiah
. As Assistant Conductor of the Elgin Symphony he conducted Young People’s Concerts and performed with Victor Borge; he was also Music Director of the Valley Civic Orchestra and conducted the Elgin Area Youth Orchestras.
A composer of over 100 works, he was commissioned in 1989 for a setting of Psalm 145 for the Papal Mass in Detroit and for a Magnificat by the Lira Singers for their 25th Anniversary. In addition to awards from the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, he was presented with the Pulaski Award for his contributions to Polish American Culture. Rachelski enjoys collaboration as recital accompanist for a rich variety of musical artists, both instrumental and vocal.