Conductor William Rowson is hailed as one of Canada’s most compelling and versatile young artists. He has worked with orchestras across Canada and currently serves as Music Director of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra and is on faculty at the Vancouver Symphony School of Music. Recent guest conducting highlights include appearances with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, the London Classical Soloists (UK), the Regina Symphony, and the Victoria Symphony, as well as return engagements with both the Saskatoon and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras.
From 2016-2018 Bill was the Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, becoming the Associate Conductor in 2019. He has led the Grammy and Juno award-winning ensemble in over 160 performances. To great acclaim, he conducted and hosted the VSO’s inaugural Sunset Beach outdoor concert to a crowd of over 14,000 as well as working with such artists as Chris Botti, Pink Martini, Troupe Vertigo, Cirque de la Symphonie, Arrival from Sweden (Abba), The Hot Sardines, Enchantment Theatre Company, Fred Penner, Magic Circle Mime Company, Platypus Theatre, Chris Hadfield, Classical Kids, as well as films with live orchestra.
Bill’s compositions and orchestral arrangements have been performed by orchestras and ensembles throughout Canada, the US and Europe, and have been broadcast in over 20 countries. His recent work Short Variations on Waves was featured on the 2021 Juno Award winning album Mosaïque by the Ensemble Made in Canada, and his Fanfare for Canada’s 150th was premiered by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard. This performance has been viewed 142,000 times on YouTube. 2021 saw the world premiere of a new work for the Vancouver Symphony called The Carnival of OUR Animals, written in collaboration with the VSO Indigenous Council, it showcases the music and stories of the Coast Salish peoples. Upcoming projects include the 2023 premiere of a new children’s opera Frog Song, and a new work for the Victoria Symphony.
A strong advocate for orchestral music, Bill is dedicated to exploring new ways of bridging the classical music experience into the 21st century through creative programming, community-oriented collaborations, socially engaged concert experiences, and utilizing social media and digital platforms to connect with new audiences. Bill is also committed to music education of the highest calibre, having produced, and written several symphonic educational programs and by working with youth ensembles throughout BC’s lower mainland as well as working at the Glenn Gould Professional School, and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. Bill is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the University of Toronto.
“Britten wrote, “Les Illuminations, as I see it, are the visions of heaven that were allowed the poet, and I hope the composer.” I think guest conductor William Rowson,… and the gratified, glowing audience must have felt very much the same about them in Tuesday’s performance – a single achievement in the group’s civilized, questing endeavour.”
Ken Winters, The Globe and Mail, 5/13/2010