Meet Maestro Wesley Schulz

Sea and Sky

Saturday, January 18, 2025

Tessa Lark, Violin

NIELSEN Helios Overture

TORKE Sky Concerto

SIBELIUS Symphony No. 2

The works on Maestro Wesley Schulz’s beautiful program are inspired by the sea and sky. Nielsen’s Helios Overture was written while the composer was on holiday in Athens, and the music poetically depicts the sun over the Aegean Sea.

Similarly, the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius wrote his optimistic Second Symphony while vacationing in an Italian coastal village. The touching work provided hope to the Finnish people while they fought against Russian oppression, and it became a symbol of national pride.

Torke’s Sky Concerto, nominated for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music and premiered by Tessa Lark (who also received a Grammy nomination for her recording of the work), is infused with references to Lark’s Kentucky roots and background as bluegrass fiddler. Torke has written, “Just as when one looks up and sees the open expanse of the sky, I felt an openness when writing this piece, a renewed freshness to putting notes together.”

Hungry for more?

Have Lunch with the Maestro!

Join us at the Governors Club for an elegant lunch-and-learn with each conductor candidate. Meals are $30 each and may be added to your ticket order or purchased separately up to a week in advance of each event. 

Be a part of the process;

Join the Conductor’s Circle!

Help shape the future of the TSO! As a member of the Conductor’s Circle, you will provide valuable feedback on the Conductor candidates and more fully participate in our search.

Q & A with Wesley

Learn more about Conductor Wesley Schulz

Wesley Schulz is widely recognized for his superb programming and spirited yet heartfelt music making with orchestras. At home with masterworks, contemporary music as well as pops, the Cultural Voice of North Carolina deems Schulz’s conducting “spectacular.” Schulz is Music Director and Conductor of the Auburn Symphony Orchestra (WA) and recently completed four successful seasons as the Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony. Prior to this, Schulz was a Conducting Fellow at the Seattle Symphony, Assistant Conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra and Education and Family Conductor for the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

At the core of Schulz’s artistry is the desire to unite people through thought-provoking performances. In 2010 Schulz won the American Prize for a singular performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring that gathered together orchestral musicians, pianists, dancers, and academics. Programs conducted by Schulz frequently include voices of our time. He has commissioned composers such as Tania León, Jennifer Higdon, Alan Lee Silva and Christopher Theofanidis as well as featured the works of composers such as Adam Schoenberg, Caroline Shaw, Anna Clyne, John Adams, Mason Quinn, Huang Ruo, Florence Price and Chris Rogerson. As a community builder, Schulz frequently brings together artists, philanthropists, business entities and political leaders in support of the Arts.

Across four seasons as Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, Schulz conducted over 200 performances in all genres including Masterworks, Pops, Friday Favorites, Holiday, Family and Education concerts. Schulz made his Masterworks debut, with hours’ notice, conducting Bernstein’s Serenade, with superstar violinist Philippe Quint, as well as Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. One reviewer wrote, “The North Carolina Symphony and Schulz definitely drew the utmost life out of Schubert.” Schulz has collaborated with Leslie Odom Jr., Pink Martini, Cirque de la Symphonie, Blind Boys of Alabama, Broadway By Request, Michael Cavanaugh and much more. Every season Schulz conducted the orchestra’s Opening State Tour as well as Opening Night at SummerFest, the orchestra’s summer home at Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, North Carolina.

As Music Director of the Auburn Symphony Orchestra, one of the Pacific Northwest’s finest regional orchestras, Schulz is committed to deepening the relationship between the symphony and the community. Recent projects include visual art projects with local elementary schools, collaborations with visual artist Adrian Wyard, multiple commissioning projects and the presentation of Sphinx Competition winner, Randall Goosby. The orchestra has recently expanded its offerings to include more diverse concert presentations at various local parks, breweries and community spaces.

From 2014-2015 Schulz served as Conducting Fellow of the Seattle Symphony. He made his Benaroya Hall debut with the orchestra in a sold-out performance with singer and songwriter Gregory Allan Isakov. Schulz has received multiple invitations to return to the podium of the Seattle Symphony conducting a collaborative concert with singer and songwriter Amos Lee and to prepare the orchestra for the Oscar winning conductor and composer, John Williams. Additionally, Schulz has been a regular guest conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra developing and conducting family and educational performances that reach over 15,000 young people annually. Schulz is the former Music Director of Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Festival Orchestra.

Schulz graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Education from Ball State University and Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin. When not on the podium, Schulz can be seen running the streets of your city or playing endless fetch with his two dogs, Chewbacca and Han Solo.

Learn more about Violinist Tessa Lark

Violinist Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time, consistently
praised by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility,
and musical elegance. She has performed with the Stuttgart Philharmonic, Virginia
Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and England’s City of Birmingham Symphony
Orchestra, among others. Lark has released four albums—The Stradgrass Sessions,
Grammy-nominated SKY, Fantasy; Invention, and a live recording of Piazzolla’s Four
Seasons of Buenos Aires
. In addition to her performance schedule, Lark champions
young aspiring artists through her work as Co-host/Creative of NPR’s From the Top.