Conducting Biography

Conductor William Rowson is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of Canada’s most versatile emerging talents. Known for his intimate knowledge of the standard repertoire as well as his facile handling of new repertoire, Rowson recently won the position of Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his performance schedule with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, upcoming engagements include return performances with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the 2015-16 season Rowson returned as the Resident Conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s ‘What Next’ Festival, conducting 5 Canadian operas in one week, in concert. He also was a finalist for the position of RBC Composer-in-Residence with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In January 2015 he debuted as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Sneak Peek Orchestra in Toronto, an orchestra made up exclusively of young professional musicians, and in October of this year Rowson debuted as the Principal Conductor of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra.

Rowson began conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music and, since then, has been a frequent guest of many of Canada’s leading ensembles, including Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Toronto’s Talisker Players, the Glenn Gould Professional School, and The National Academy Orchestra of Canada. He has conducted the world premieres of over 60 new works. In recent seasons Rowson has also conducted the McGill Chamber Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, the Saskatoon Symphony, Orchestra Toronto, The Toronto Philharmonic and the Scarborough Philharmonic.

In the fall of 2013, Rowson worked with Philip Glass as the assistant conductor for the world premiere of the Godfrey Reggio film,Visitors, with Philip Glass’ score performed live by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His operatic experience includes conducting the Canadian premieres of Handel’s Amadigi de Guala and Hasse’s Antonio e Cleopatra on period instruments with London Early Opera and the University of Western Ontario’s Early Music Studio. Through his performances with the Talisker Players, Rowson has collaborated with prominent vocal artists Meredith Hall, Rufus Müller, Lawrence Wiliford and Krisztina Szabó.

An accomplished composer, Rowson’s music has been featured at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, UBS Verbier Festival, the Banff Centre’s Summer Music Series, Niagara on the Lake International Chamber Music Festival, and the Brott Music Festival. In the summer of 2014 his Cello Sonata was recorded by the Mercer Park Duo for Naxos Canada and released internationally. This year, Rowson debuted as a film composer at TIFF with his score to the feature length film Big Muddy.

William Rowson grew up in a musical family, starting the violin at age 3 in his hometown of Saskatoon.