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Kevin Mcmahon | music director and conductor

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Christopher Rex

Christopher RexChristopher Rex joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Principal Cello in 1979, the same year in which he became the first cellist ever to win the string prize in the biennial Young Artists Competition of the National Federation of Music Clubs and since then has appeared as recitalist and chamber musician across the nation. He took up the cello at age eight, completing a family string quartet in his hometown of Winter Park, Florida. Following his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Orlando Cole and at The Juilliard School with Leonard Rose, he was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra under director Eugene Ormandy for seven seasons. He has taught at Gettysburg College, the New School of Music in Philadelphia, Georgia State University, and the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina.

In the summer of 1988, he shared Acting Principal duties for the New York Philharmonic’s European tour, replacing Lorne Munrow. He is a founding member of the Georgian Chamber Players, whose concerts have included guest performers such as Emanuel Ax, Andras Schiff, Misha Dichter, Yefim Bronfman, Robert McDuffie, Lynn Harrell, Ruth Laredo, Lee Luvisi, and Janos Starker. In 1994, Mr. Rex, together with his brother, Charles Rex, Associate Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, premiered a new double concerto for violin, cello and orchestra by Stephen Paulus to sold-out audiences at four concerts in Lincoln Center with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic.  The Rex brothers presented a program in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in February 2001, as a tribute to their father, Charles Gordon Rex, Sr. At this recital only music that was composed by their father was performed.  The following year he again performed in Weill Hall in the New York debut of the Georgian Chamber Players. Christopher Rex also performed in Carnegie Hall as soloist with the Manhattan Philharmonic again with his brother Charles in the “Poet and the Muse” by Camille Saint -Saens.

Mr. Rex’s solo appearances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra have included performances of the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1,Tchaikowsky Rococo Variations, Strauss’ Don Quixote, the Victor Herbert Concerto #2, and the cello concertos of Elgar, Schumann, Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Hindemith, Prokovief, and most recently Samuel Barber.  In May 2009 Rex performed Mariel, a work for cello and orchestra by Osvaldo Golijov, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  In October of 2011 Rex performed the Brahms Double Concerto with the new Concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony, David Coucheron, under the baton of composer/conductor Oliver Knussen. In the 2012-13 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Season Mr. Rex will be featured together with Robert Spano, Music Director of the ASO, and David Coucheron in a performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Donald Runnicles conducting.   Rex was featured soloist with the ASO in the 2013-14 season performing  “Schelomo” the beautiful and deeply moving Hebraic Rhapsody by Ernest Bloch for cello and orchestra. 

May of 2017 will mark the 16th Season of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival on Amelia Island Florida of which he is Founder, General and Artistic Director. Over the years his guest artists with whom he performs have included Yo Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Joshua Bell, Hillary Hahn, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the Eroica Trio, the Guarneri, Tokyo, Takacs, and Emerson String Quartets, pianists Horatio Guttierez, Garrick Ohlsson, Andre Watts, Claude Frank, Anne Marie MacDermiit, and Christopher O’Riley, violinists Robert MacDuffie, Cho Liang Lin, Elmar Oliveira, Sarah Chiang, Rachel Barton Pine, and the Takacs, Tokyo, American, and Ying String Quartets. In June of 2009 the Guarneri String Quartet chose to play their final concert as a quartet at the Amelia Festival asking Mr. Rex to join them in a performance of the Schubert Two Cello Quintet. The Festival runs from late May through the first two weeks of June and consists of traditional chamber music performances in historic venues on Amelia Island as well as more experimental chamber music experiences developed by Rex such as the “Candlelight Tour and Concerts” at Ft. Clinch, a civil war period fort on the island, and the “Beer and G-String” series at the Palace Saloon—the oldest working saloon in Florida.

In addition, June 2017 will see the 15th season of the Madison Chamber Music Festival, in Madison, Georgia, for which Mr. Rex serves as Artistic Director. Many of the Artists from the Amelia Festival perform in the historic cultural center and beautiful antebellum homes in downtown Madison as well as the Stephan Thomas Museum and the Burge Plantation in Mansfield, GA.

Together with David Coucheron, Concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and David’s sister pianist Julie Coucheron, Rex has formed the Christiania Piano Trio (named for what was until 1926 the name of Oslo, Norway, the country of the Coucheron’s birth) with scheduled performances in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Norway. Rex is a regular performer at the Highlands Chamber Music Festival and has been Principal Cellist of the orchestras at the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Colorado and the Grand Tetons Music Festival in Jackson Wyoming. He as performed as soloist at the Brevard Music Festival and Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and the Chautauqua Festival in New York.  In May 2007 was invited to play at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. As a result of his chamber music activities and performances Rex was named to the national Board of Directors of Chamber Music America, an organization dedicated to the support and promotion of professional chamber music artists and ensembles.

From the fall of 2007 Rex to the spring of 2011 Rex served as the Cello Chair of the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia where he currently teaches pedagogy, string literature and gives master classes in chamber music and cello.  In the fall of 2012 Rex became adjunct professor and Head of the Cello Department of Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

Pursuing a longtime interest in visual arts, Mr. Rex has produced many fine drawings and watercolors, some of which have been used by the Atlanta Symphony for Christmas cards and sold as note cards. Recently he has expanded his interest to graphics on his Macintosh computer.   Rex will launch his new web site doremeow.com in August of 2013 which will feature his drawings and notecards showing whimsical scenes of cats and musicians.  In addition to his duties as Principal Cellist with the Atlanta Symphony he was a full time degree student at the Atlanta College of Art in 1997-’99. 

His wife, Dr. Martha Wilkins, is a pediatric anesthesiologist at Atlanta's Scottish Rite Children's Hospital.  Christopher and Martha have two wonderful children: Caroline Rex who is now 18 and about to graduate from Ben Franklin Academy and Christopher A. Rex, 14, who attends Westminster.

Video: Cello Sonata in G minor, op. 65 by Frédéric Chopin

Additional Links:

Concert: November 11, 2017 - 7:30 pm - Brahms and Dvorak

Website: Christopher Rex Website