Organization: New York Philharmonic
Instrument / Position: Violinist
Bio: Violinist Charles Rex was born into a musical family in Winter Park, Florida, where his father was a composer and instructor at Rollins College and his mother taught piano. He started his violin studies at age four under Alphonse Carlo, professor of violin at Rollins. Following his debut with the Florida Symphony at age thirteen, Mr. Rex won the Hinda Honigmann Scholarship Award to the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and toured as soloist with the BMC Orchestra throughout North and South Carolina.
Mr. Rex was awarded a full scholarship to Florida State University, where he studied with Richard Burgin, former Concertmaster and Associate Conductor of the Boston Symphony. Other teachers included Jascha Brodsky and Berl Senofsky. During this time, he won the string division of the MTNA National Young Artists Competition and soloed with the Cincinnati Symphony under Max Rudolf.
Immediately after graduating cum laude from FSU with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, Mr. Rex joined the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy where he played for eight years before accepting the position of Associate Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. He relinquished the position in 1999 due to an increasing demand of his time for solo appearances and recordings. Mr. Rex has also served as guest concertmaster of the London Symphony under Sir Colin Davis and also acted as concertmaster of the Dallas, Reading and Delaware Symphonies. He is also the concertmaster of the Endless Mountain Music Festival in upper Pennsylvania.
In 1982, Florida State University honored him as a Distinguished Alumnus, and the FSU School of Music presented him with the Ernst von Dohnanyi Faculty Citation for Excellence in Performance. In 1988, he toured Egypt and Jordan as soloist with the Princeton Chamber Orchestra and was the first American to appear as soloist in the new Cairo Opera House. The Borough of Staten Island of New York City also made March 13 of that year "Charles Rex Day" on the occasion of a special recital he performed there on behalf of the New York Philharmonic.
At Lincoln Center, Mr. Rex has been soloist with the New York Philharmonic in performances of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," the Hindemith Concerto and the Nielsen Concerto to great critical acclaim, and he also gave the New York premiere of the Harbison Violin Concerto and the world premiere of Gunther Schuller's "Concerto Quaternio." He performed the Bach Double Concerto on a Philharmonic tour of Japan, India, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He has also given other significant world premieres, including American composer David Ott’s Violin Concerto commissioned by the Reading Symphony and Stephen Paulus’s Concerto for Violin and Cello, a New York Philharmonic commission in conjunction with the Atlanta Symphony performed with his brother, Christopher Rex, principal cellist of the Atlanta Symphony. Other solo appearances have included performances with the Atlanta Symphony, the Charlotte Symphony, the Tucson Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Denver Chamber Orchestra, the Charleston and Florida Symphonies, the Manhattan Philharmonic, the Queens Philharmonic, and the Transylvania, Reading, and Northwest Indiana Symphonies.
A feature-length documentary, [i]Concerto for Two Brothers[/i], by Cristina Cassidy Productions on the Rex brothers’ musical careers and the influence of their composer father, Charles Gordon Rex, on their work is to be released soon at film festivals and on television. Trailers for the film are already on line at www.concertofortwobrothers.com. Charles and Christopher Rex are also featured as soloists on an Elysium label release of Saint-Saens "The Muse and the Poet" for violin, cello and orchestra, accompanied by the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic of the Czech Republic under Peter Tiboris. Other recordings by Charles Rex include the Copland Piano Quartet for EMI and the world premiere recording for Opus One label of the "Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra" written by the American composer, Mary Jeanne van Appledorn, and accompanied by the Polish National Radio Orchestra under Joel Suben.
Mr. Rex plays on a violin made by J. B. Guadagnini in 1740 known as the “Ex-Hill” and formally owned by theremin virtuosa Clara Rockmore.