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Mattie Kelly Arts Center

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College Production:
Talley's Folly

Broadway Series:
Dirty Dancing

Broadway Series:
Original Stars of American Bandstand

School Show:
Four Score and Seven Years Ago

Art Gallery:
America: The Dream of an Artist's Life featuring Emil Holzhauer

School Show:
Charlotte's Web

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School Show:
Nugget & Fang

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Boston Maestro Selected as Mattie Kelly Distinguished Chair in Music & NFSO's First Full-Time Conductor

Mattie Kelly Arts Center

5/30/07 - One of Boston's most visible and talented musicians has been selected to fill the Mattie Kelly Distinguished Endowed Teaching Chair in Music and Conducting at Okaloosa-Walton College and to lead the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra (NFSO) as the symphony's first full-time conductor and music director in its 20-year history.

Jeffrey Rink was selected following a nationwide search in which the finalists conducted and worked with NFSO musicians in a rehearsal session and were interviewed by a committee that included an orchestra musician, a symphony guild volunteer, OWC music professors and others.

Maestro Rink is currently the Music Director of Chorus pro Musica in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Newton Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestral Activities at the Longy School of Music, where he conducts the Longy Chamber Orchestra and is on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts - Boston. He was Conductor of the New England Philharmonic for eight years in which he won four ASCAP awards for adventuresome programming and commitment to new music.

"We are simply delighted that Jeffrey Rink has accepted our offer to lead the NFSO into its 21st season and beyond," said Dr. Bob Richburg, OWC President. "We've had an informal 'passing the baton' ceremony with our interim conductor Lois Van Dam who did such a wonderful job this past season with the NFSO. Lois will return to her first love, teaching our students as an OWC music professor, but she'll still be involved in the orchestra."

Rink will officially begin his duties at OWC July 1, but indicated that he has been engrossed in planning a superb opening season to kick-off the symphony's third decade on the Emerald Coast.

"This is a most exciting opportunity to build upon what is already in place," said Rink. "There is a wonderful air of enthusiasm surrounding the orchestra and what we can do together. We will kick off the season with a blockbuster program that will feature Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture and Dvorak Symphony No. 8. I look forward to meeting as many concertgoers, donors and subscribers as possible and to becoming a part of the fabric of this wonderful community."

Rink and his family plan to move to Niceville and will live in Bluewater Bay. His two teenagers have enrolled at Niceville High School. Familiar with the area, Rink and his family have vacationed for years in the Apalachicola region and Rink served as a guest conductor for the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in 2006.

Longtime NFSO Symphony Guild volunteer Taty Saunders of Shalimar, who served on the selection committee, is enthusiastic about Rink's appointment, "I was so impressed," noted Saunders. "He's energetic, has some great ideas from the big city and is committed to the NFSO long term."

Jeffrey Rink, also Concert Opera Boston's Music Director, is one of Boston's most visible and talented musicians. He has received much critical success as an opera conductor. "The afternoon's mastermind was, of course, Music Director Jeffrey Rink, an opera conductor to be reckoned with" (T.J. Medrek, Boston Herald, June 2001). Of La Traviata, "It was the first of many such heartbreaking insights, and it was the soul of Rink's achievements. He gave us Verdi" (Lloyd Schwartz, Boston Phoenix, June 2003)." "Throughout the entire concert Jeffrey Rink affirmed that he is a conductor who understands and faithfully observes the intentions of the composer, musically elegant, precise and efficient without excessive movement." (La Liberté, Fribourg, Switzerland). "The performance was forthright and vivid... Rink conducted with hell-bent determination and passion..." (Anthony Tomassini, the Boston Globe).

Mr. Rink was honored in 2005 by the New England Opera Club with the Jacopo Peri Award joining past winners such as Sarah Caldwell and Boris Goldovsky for his significant contributions to the local opera scene, "This symphonic conductor is acclaimed for his innovative productions of concert operas." (New England Opera Club)

Maestro Rink has conducted critically acclaimed concert opera performances with Chorus pro Musica including the Boston premiere of Attila, Samson et Dalila, Mefistofele, La Traviata, Nabucco, Macbeth, Otello, Turandot, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Faust and Carmen. With the Newton Symphony Orchestra, he has conducted highly successful concert opera performances of Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Rigoletto, Don Pasquale, and Barber of Seville.

In 2005 he led a critically acclaimed performance of La Bohème with the Maryland Opera Institute which prompted the Washington Post to write "this is about as good as any "Bohème" you are likely to see this side of the Metropolitan Opera or Covent Garden." In 2001 he conducted highly successful performances of The Magic Flute in the New National Theatre, Tokyo.

With Chorus pro Musica Mr. Rink has conducted the North American premieres of two major works of Berlioz with period instruments: L'Enfance du Christ and Roméo et Juliette. He has brought the Newton Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Pro Musica to perform sold out concerts of Chinese and Western works in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and Boston's Symphony Hall.

Mr. Rink has received high praise from The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, El Economista in Mexico City, the Manila Standard, Switzerland's La Liberté and Poland's Glos Wybzreza and GazetaMorska.

Maestro Rink has traveled worldwide in a guest conductor capacity: the Baltic State Philharmonic in Gdansk, Poland, (the only American asked to participate in their millennium celebration), the Orquesta Sinfonica de Monterrey in Mexico, and L'Orchestre de Sherbrooke of Quebec, Canada. Other triumphant appearances include concerts with Metropolitan Opera soprano Barbara Kilduff in Asia, conducting L'Orchestre de Jeunes de Fribourg in Switzerland, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Telemann Chamber Orchestra and New Japan Philharmonic in Japan, and the Filarmonica de Queretero and Carlos Chavez Symphony in Mexico.

During the 2003-2004 season, Mr. Rink served as a cover conductor for James Levine, James Conlon, Hans Graf, Robert Spano, Gennady Roszhdestvensky and Rafel Frühbeck de Burgos with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2007. The talented professional musicians who perform with the NFSO come from across the greater panhandle region and many of the symphony's guest artists have an international reputation. There are presently approximately 60 active members in the NFSO and the orchestra has performed continuously each season since 1987, providing cultural programs to thousands of area residents in its 20-year history.

The professional orchestra is operated under the auspices of Okaloosa-Walton College and performs at OWC's Mattie Kelly Fine and Performing Arts Center on the main stage. A custom orchestra shell is utilized to provide an optimum acoustical experience for the audience.

For additional information about the NFSO and its varied educational programs, visit the symphony website at . To be sent a season brochure or purchase season tickets, contact the box office at (850) 729-6000.

The $26 million Mattie Kelly Arts Center at OWC is northwest Florida's premier arts complex and is easily accessible from Interstate 10 and Highways 85 and 285 on the Niceville, Florida campus of Okaloosa- Walton College, at 100 College Blvd.