Dr. Edward Markward – Music Director




Now celebrating his 32nd and final season as Music Director/Conductor of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, Edward Markward has enjoyed a distinguished and varied career as a conductor and educator since joining the faculty of Rhode Island College in 1973. Guest conducting engagements have included the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Oratorio Choir, the Newport Music Festival, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, the Brooklyn Heights Symphony Orchestra, Festival Ballet Providence, Montpelier (VT) Chamber Orchestra Society and the Perrysburg (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra. Markward has served as Music Director for the Bel Canto Opera Company, Music Director/Conductor for Opera Rhode Island, Associate Conductor of the Providence Opera Theater, principal guest conductor for the Brooklyn Heights Symphony, and was founding conductor of the Festival Chamber Orchestra of Rhode Island.  Prior to his Rhode Island appointments, he was Music Director/Conductor of the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers and Chamber Orchestra and Musical Director for the Ann Arbor Civic Theater in Michigan. 

A champion of contemporary music, he has been praised by such composers as Elie Siegmeister, Paul Cooper, Paul Nelson, Richard Cumming, Alan Shockley, James Bohn and Aleksandra Vrebalov and has received numerous accolades, both from colleagues and the press.  Composer Paul Cooper called him”…a miracle worker;” while Elie Siegmeister stated, “the world should get around to discovering him.”  According to the Providence Journal-Bulletin, “Edward Markward led a musical performance that possessed subtleties, a fine beat and generous fizz,” and “…a reading that provided nuance, steady organization and a remarkable feeling for style.”  The Providence Journal-Bulletin also described Edward Markward as, “a pillar of the music community.”  James Lowe of the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus wrote recently of Markward’s guest appearance, “In fact, the entire performance was a most satisfying and powerful experience.”   He has collaborated with such international artists as Maria Spacagna, Dominic Cossa, Enrico di Giuseppi, Gary Glaze and Cynthia Munzer (all of the Metropolitan Opera) as well as Joseph Silverstein, Walter Trampler, Samuel Baron, Michael Boriskin, Arturo Delmoni, Judith Lynn Stillman, Frederick Moyer and Eric Ruske.  Markward also served for seven years as Conductor for Festival Ballet Rhode Island.  He made his debut with that company in 2002-2003 conducting performances of Giselle and The Nutcracker, and in October, 2004 led world premiere performances of Aleksandra Vrebalov’s The Widow’s Broom.  In March, 2007, he led the RI Civic Chorale & Orchestra and soloists in the much anticipated world premiere performance of Vrebalov’s Stations.  Markward is the recipient of numerous awards including the Rhode Island College Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Award, the Rhode Island Choral Directors Association’s first Outstanding Conductor Award, and the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra’s first President’s Award.  He is the recipient of the 2006 Martha & Ronald Ballinger Distinguished and Sustained Scholarship and Creativity Award given by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rhode Island College.  He received bachelor and master’s degrees from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and the DMA degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  His chief mentor was Maestro Gustav Meier, and he attended master classes given by Maestros Erich Leinsdorf, Andre Previn, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center. Currently, Markward is serving as music consultant to Arlene Croce, former dance critic of The New Yorker Magazine, who is writing a biography of George Balanchine, founding choreographer of the New York City Ballet. Most recently, he was appointed Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of Barrington at St. John’s.  Upon his retirement from Rhode Island College in June of 2013, Markward was named Professor Emeritus of Music.  He served that institution as a faculty member for forty years in positions which included Orchestra Conductor, Director of Choral Activities, Director of the Opera Workshop and Professor of Conducting.

“Performed in first rate fashion.”

Raymond Erickson

The New York Times