Richard Rodzinski studied at Oberlin College, Columbia College, and continued his graduate studies in musicology at Columbia University. While a student he began his professional career at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, worked for Columbia Records, and as personal representative for Krzysztof Penderecki in America.
For a decade he worked in opera as Artistic Administrator first of the San Francisco Opera and later at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
He joined the Van Cliburn Foundation as president and executive director where over 25 years he directed six quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competitions, Cliburn Concert series, Contemporary Music series, Musical Awakenings, an education program for children, and created the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs.
He initiated the practice of live webcasts of music competitions and produced internationally syndicated documentary films, live competition performance CDs for Teldec, Philips, RCA Red Seal, and harmonia mundi, designed several twenty-six part radio series aired nationally and carried, in part, by the European Broadcasting Union.
At the invitation of Maestro Valery Gergiev, in 2009 Mr. Rodzinski was appointed General Director of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition in order to revitalize the competition and bring to it integrity, transparency, and its erstwhile prestige and reputation by introducing new rules, regulations, voting systems, and numerous other innovations including worldwide live webcasts, international tours for the winners, and a solid marketing and PR campaign. Noted music journalist Norman Lebrecht wrote on July 1, 2011 “Valery Gergiev and Richard Rodzinski made the 14th Tchaikovsky competition a model of what such contests should be. Indeed, it’s unlikely music competitions will ever be the same again.”
Mr. Rodzinski has been a member of the jury of several vocal competitions including the Elena Obraztsova International Competition of Young Opera Singers in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Aram Khachaturian International Vocal Competition in Yerevan, Armenia; and the International Music Competition of Montréal.
He has served as a consultant and has undertaken projects for the Ford Foundation (1980-1982), OPERA America (1979-1983), and the National Endowment for the Arts (1979-1984). He was a member of the board of the World Federation of International Music Competitions for nearly twenty years, nine years as its First Vice President, and served on the board of directors of the International Society of Performing Arts.
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