Conductor Elaine Rinaldi is fast making her mark among the ranks of rising young American conductors. Critics have called her performances “brilliant” and her interpretative work “impeccable”. As Founder and Artistic Director of Orchestra Miami, Rinaldi has brought a new level of professionalism and quality to the local arts scene. Of her work with Orchestra Miami, Daniel Fernandez of El Nuevo Herald writes, “In just two years, Rinaldi has created an orchestra which, though small in size, is clearly of a high caliber”, and of her opening night performance of the 2008 season, Lawrence A. Johnson of The Miami Herald writes, “the orchestra’s playing was consistently energized, polished and responsive to Rinaldi over the 2 1⁄2-hour program, showing some of the fire and excitement of the [former Florida] Philharmonic on its best nights”.
In addition to her work with Orchestra Miami, Rinaldi is much in demand as an opera conductor. In response to her performance of Porgy and Bess, Critic Lawrence Budmen wrote “Rinaldi showed real affinity for Gershwin’s bluesy brand of Americana, and drew supple playing from the hard-working orchestra, whipping up quite an instrumental storm in the hurricane scene.” For four consecutive seasons, she was the principal guest conductor at the Dicapo Opera Theater in Manhattan. She has also led several tours for the National Lyric Opera, twice appeared as a guest conductor with the Albany Symphony for the Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival, appeared as a guest conductor with Teatro Lirico Europa at the Kravis Center in Palm Beach and conducted performances of La traviata for Island Opera Theater in Key West, FL. Rinaldi has also held many positions as an Assistant and/or Cover Conductor in many of this country’s leading regional opera theaters. From 1997-2000, she held the positions of Resident Associate Conductor and Chorus Master at the Florida Grand Opera in Miami. Critics called her work with the chorus “exquisite”, and Tim Smith of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel said “the chorus, under Elaine Rinaldi’s direction, gets better and better.”(3/13/99, La bohème).
As a student and young professional, Rinaldi had the privilege of working with many of the world’s most important opera singers, accompanying extensively in their master classes and lessons. Several of the artists with whom she worked closely are Renato Capecchi, Nico Castel, Sherrill Milnes, Mignon Dunn, Renata Scotto, Juan Pons, Judith Blegen and Dodi Protero, as well as Franco Corelli, Sena Jurinacs, Theo Adam, Maestro Horst Stein, Dolores Ziegler and James King. This important work has contributed to her versatility and her status as one of the most sought after vocal coaches in opera today. As an educator, Rinaldi has taught at many opera training programs, and given master classes at several universities throughout the United States. She spent the summer of 2007 at Intermezzo Summer Opera Training Program, where she conducted performances of Die Zauberflöte and Suor Angelica, and in 2008, she led performances of Handel’s Orlando for BASOTI in San Francisco. Currently, she is on the faculty of the University of Miami, as an Adjunct Professor in Vocal Coaching.
Rinaldi began her musical studies at an early age with renowned pedagogue Dr. Rosalina Sackstein in Miami, FL. A winner of numerous scholarships and awards, Rinaldi made her professional debut at the age of 16 as a piano soloist with the Ft. Lauderdale Chamber Orchestra. She continued her studies at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, where she received the full-tuition M.B. Byrd Scholarship. After graduation, Rinaldi received a scholarship to the prestigious Mannes School of Music in New York, where she studied piano with Nina Svetlanova, Chamber Music with Julius Levine and Vocal Coaching with Benton Hess and Joan Dornemann. As a recital accompanist, Elaine has accompanied hundreds of recitals for all instruments and voice types. At Mannes, she was awarded the Newton Swift Prize for Accompanying. Notable recital engagements have included performances with Metropolitan Opera stars Olga Makarina, Elizabeth Caballero, and Russell Thomas. She is currently the collaborative pianist for the “Prima Volta” debut recital series at the Austrian Cultural Institute in Manhattan.
“Rinaldi showed real affinity for Gershwin’s bluesy brand of Americana and drew supple playing from the hard-working orchestra, whipping up quite an instrumental storm in the hurricane scene.”
– Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review- From “Porgy and Bess Musically Brilliant”, March 14, 2010
” Its (Orchestra Miami’s) delivery of the Leonore Overture #3, op. 72 by Beethoven, was without a doubt brilliant; especially skillful was the effect of the trumpet from offstage. Rinaldi has a well-defined style which inclines itself to the conservative and balanced. Her Beethoven is much more of the classic than of the romantic, without the conductor overlooking the contrasts and dynamic effects. Simply, she does not exaggerate the tempi nor the dynamics; as many are accustomed to do in our times…With the acclaimed Ning An as soloist (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1, Opus 23 in b flat minor), this work had without a doubt, an interpreter of high caliber and irreproachable technique…Nevertheless, it is necessary to praise Rinaldi’s work of dynamics, which without losing a note of the crescendos nor the flashy “tutti”, never — not even in the spectacular finale — eclipsed the piano….Here, up to the beautiful finale of very complex harmonies, the fusillades of chords were perfectly distinguishable, without the orchestral accompaniment losing its luster…[In] the Symphony # 1, Opus 68 in c minor of Brahms…. Rinaldi did not allow herself to be carried away by exaggeration, and her interpretive work maintained itself within a measured style, with special care in the elaboration of the phrases and their playing within the harmonic framework… This was a balanced and well thought out version in which one has to highlight the flute soloist, the concertmaster and above all the timpani, which were impeccable. The fourth movement was interpreted by this conductor and her musicians with exactness to the tempo markings, without resorting to sensational effects, which resulted in an impact in its elaborate finale.”
– Daniel Fernandez, El Nuevo Herald, May 19, 2009 (Translated from the original Spanish)
“But not all the credit for this performance is taken by the touring company; Orchestra Miami
and its director, Elaine Rinaldi delivered the beautiful and difficult music of Gershwin
impeccably, with extraordinary idiomatic taste and without losing sight of appropriate support to
the voices. Rinaldi is also an excellent choral director.”
– Daniel Fernandez, El Nuevo Herald- Porgy and Bess 75th Anniversary Tour, March 14, 2010
(translated from the original Spanish)
“The Miami Civic Music Association closed its season brilliantly with a concert by Orchestra Miami and Music Director Elaine Rinaldi featuring the legendary Spanish guitarist Angel Romero…In just two years, Rinaldi has created an orchestra which, though small in size, is clearly of a high caliber… The concert opened with the always welcome overture from the Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart, in which the orchestra brought out the music’s joy and its deft touches of Turkish music. Rinaldi demonstrated her mastery in this composer, and she was equally brilliant in more complex contemporary works like the Concerto for Guitar of David Chesky, which had its premiere in this concert… But the climax of this evening of music may very well have been the finale of the concert, the Symphony #4, the Italian, by Mendelssohn. Rinaldi directed the first movement with a verve that made her orchestra sound like one far larger. Although all of the musicians played very well, praise is especially due to the woodwinds for their great precision. The playing of the orchestra was characterized not only by great skill but also by devoted attention to the score, a spirit no doubt inspired by the dedication of its music director. Rinaldi presented an impeccable interpretation of this work which begins and ends with the most vibrant passages. The audience acknowledged her achievement with a long standing ovation.
– Daniel Fernandez, El Nuevo Herald, June 7, 2008 (Translated from the original Spanish)
“Orchestra Miami’s showing was undeniably impressive. Composed largely of former Florida Philharmonic members, the orchestra’s playing was consistently energized, polished and responsive to Rinaldi over the 2 1⁄2-hour program, showing some of the fire and excitement of the Philharmonic on its best nights.”
– Lawrence A. Johnson, The Miami Herald, January 21, 2008- The Ricordi Opera Gala
“Music director Elaine Rinaldi led off the evening with an exuberant performance of Mozart’s Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, the exotic ”Turkish” percussion very music to the fore, before Romero took the stage for David Chesky’s Guitar Concerto. Rinaldi and the orchestra were heard to better advantage in Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, which closed the evening. Rinaldi paced the movements alertly, bringing the requisite vitality to the outer movements, while attentive to scoring details in the Andante, conveying the somber melancholy.”
– Lawrence A. Johnson, The Miami Herald, June 3, 2008
“Rinaldi clearly has a penchant for offering interesting thematic programming and promising
– Lawrence Budmen, The Miami Herald, September 21, 2006
“I say this: one has to congratulate Orchestra Miami and Rinaldi for a performance of quality that exalts the Miami scene, and promises more and better performances from this new orchestra and its Director.”
Daniel Fernandez, El Nuevo Herald, January 22, 2008 – The Ricordi Opera Gala (Translated from the original Spanish)
“Elaine Rinaldi, in the pit, had a spark to her conducting that helped to override individual imperfections.”
– Anne Midgette, The New York Times, February 20, 2002- Street Scene
“Conducted with verve by Elaine Rinaldi, it was one of the better productions the Opera League
has imported from New York City’s National Lyric Opera Company.”
– Hippo Press, Manchester, NH, Oct. 31, 2003- L’Elisir d’amore
“The orchestra, conducted by Elaine Rinaldi, did a fine job. It gave strong support to the melodies of the aria and the conductor kept it tight with the singers.”
– Solares Hill, Key West Citizen, March 25, 2005- La traviata
“There were two stars that shone brightest in the constellation of many at Florida Grand Opera’s opening-night production of Rigoletto….. The other “star” on Nov. 17 was the Men’s Chorus, trained by Elaine Rinaldi. Their singing throughout was exquisite. They had degrees of light and shade, marvelous control and a fresh, crisp sound rarely found in opera companies today. Their reenactment of the abduction scene in terms of group drama and singing was brilliant.”
– Rex Alan Hearn, Coral Gables Gazette, November 24, 1999- Rigoletto
“A true star, though, was the chorus, well-prepared by Elaine Rinaldi.”
– James Roos The Miami Herald, Nov. 20, 1999 From “Chorus Alone Won’t Make Opera Grand”
“The chorus, which gets better and better under Elaine Rinaldi’s direction, made a potent sound in the Latin Quarter scene..”
– Tim Smith, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, March 13, 1999- La bohème