Conductor Rebecca Burkhardt joined the University of Northern Iowa faculty as Director of Orchestral Activities in 1988. Besides her duties as Music Director of the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra she performs as the conductor for the UNI Opera Theatre, and serves as a professor on the music theory and conducting faculties at UNI.
From Dialogue of the Carmelites and Madame Butterfly to Fiddler on the Roof and HAIR, her theater performances encompass the gamut of music-drama and musical comedy. She has appeared as guest conductor with professional, university and high school honor orchestras throughout the nation and internationally in Russia, France, Brazil, Costa Rica and most recently at the Festival of American Music, Sichuan Conservatory, Chengdu, China. Her honors include the Award for Faculty Excellence given by the Iowa Board of Regents, and she served as the National President of the College Orchestra Directors Association.
She has performed with soloists Wen Wei, Simon Estes, Sheri Greenawald, Fei Xie, Laurie Smukler, Elizabeth Adkins, Ross Winter, Helen Callus, Anibal dos Santos, and Sean Botkin among many others. Burkhardt has worked closely with composers in residence Michael Daugherty, Dan Welcher, Libby Larsen, Ao Xiang, Sam Adler and Jake Heggie.
As a composer she has works in the choral, chamber music and chamber and full orchestra genres. Her musical, A Scotch Verdict, written in collaboration with UNI theatre professor Cynthia Goatley, was presented in a concert performance as a part of Stages, a new musical festival sponsored by Theatre Building Chicago. Her newest musical, Just Ann, another collaboration with Goatley, is based on the life of Texas Governor Ann Richards and was premiered in August 2017.
A native of Texas, Dr. Burkhardt earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Horn Performance from Southwestern University (TX), a Master of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas, and her Ph. D. at the University of Texas, Austin.
She credits her teachers, Fiora Contino, Murry Sidlin, Henry Charles Smith, Anshel Brusilow and Dan Welcher for her love of the symphonic and operatic repertory, both new and old.
Burkhardt has performed with soloists Wen Wei, Simon Estes, Fei Xie, Elizabeth Adkins, Helen Callus, among many others, and worked with composers in residence Michael Daugherty, Dan Welcher, Libby Larsen, Ao Xiang, Sam Adler and Jake Heggie.