Rapchak, Lawrence , American conductor and composer; b. Hammond, Ind., May 7, 1951. He studied piano in grade school and learned to read music in his youth. While still in high school, his debut as a composer was made with his 2 Short Pieces for Orch. (Hammond, Ind., June 3, 1967). In 1969 he entered the Cleveland hist, of Music, where he studied composition with Marcel Dick and Donald Erb. He also received training in conducting from James Levine. From 1988 to 1993 he was music director of the Chamber Opera of Chicago. In 1995 he became music director of the Chicago Opera Theater. His compositions emphasize contrasting colors with markedly propulsive rhythms with a preference for dividing the Orch. into smaller instrumental groupings.
DRAMATIC : The Lifework of Juan Diaz, chamber opera after Ray Bradbury (Chicago, April 21, 1990, composer conducting). ORCH.: Poem for Oboe Ensemble (Cleveland, Dec. 15, 1980); Bifrost for Cello and Orch. (1981); Mesazoa (1985); La Siesta (1987); Mystic Promenade (St. Louis, Oct. 7, 1987); II Concerto Vetrina for Bass Clarinet and Small Orch. (1988); Violin Concerto (1988); Chasing the Sunset (N.Y., March 12, 1989); Sinfonia Antiqua (1990; Detroit, Feb. 7, 1991); Concerto for Oboe, English Horn, and Orch. (1991); Serenata Gioconda for Saxophone Quartet and Orch. (Long Island, Nov. 7, 1992); Orloj (Omaha, Sept. 30, 1993); Aubade (1994); Saetas (1996; Chicago, Feb. 13, 1997). CHAMBER : Troika for 11 Instruments (1994; Chicago, Jan. 8, 1995); Moa for 6 Instruments (1998).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire