Conway native Henry Bowen’s lifelong passion for music landed him his dream job with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. However, he does not appear on stage. Instead, starting Sept. 6, the 26-year-old UA-Fayetteville graduate will take over as manager of arts planning and administration.
“A big part of my role is managing the budget for the art program, which is the budget that controls which artists are hired and which conductors are hired,” says Bravo! says Bowen, a soft-spoken man from Colorado. Vail, his six-week classical music festival held each summer.
The new gig will combine his passion for symphonies with his interest in logistics and the work that goes on behind the scenes to get the music to the stage.
“I’ve always been someone who has made music an important part of my life, and it’s such a great honor to work with other people who value music in the same way,” he says.
Growing up in Conway, Bowen and his family attended the First United Methodist Church. It was there that he first became interested in music, playing handbells and singing in a choir.
“We had a great music director, Janet Zingerich,” he says. “She’s always been the one to push my passion for music. I’m forever grateful to her.”
In sixth grade, he started playing the trombone in the school band and played throughout high school and undergrad in Fayetteville.
“I think playing the trombone for about 10 years has strengthened my foundation in musical knowledge. The trombone was also a way for me to be part of something bigger. When…all one of them is the way I connect with other musicians, and that has been very important in shaping who I am today.”
The Arkansas Symphony and the circle of classical music lovers here have also had an impact.
“The network of classical musicians in Central Arkansas is important,” he says. “Having that community was very important to me growing up.”
Bowen flew a bit through his studies at UA, initially focusing on music education, then switching to music theory and composition before graduating with a degree in general music and an elective in business. .
She holds a master’s degree in arts management from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and also did a graduate internship with Bravo!. bail. He will be attending the festival full-time in his 2021, performing the Resident Symphony every year.
Now that he has left the Rockies for the Big Apple, his enthusiasm is evident.
“It’s an exciting and terrifying job. It’s a high-intensity job, but it’s also very rewarding. It’s a big move for a kid from Conway and I can’t wait.”