James Rauscher, Principal Pianist | The Amarillo Symphony DD_EduEngagement

James Rauscher, Principal Pianist

James Rauscher, Principal Pianist

Principal Pianist

Dr. James (Jim) Rauscher is the principal pianist of the Amarillo Symphony and has been for 43 years! Jim retired in 2016 as Professor of Music at Amarillo College, where he taught piano for 35 years and served as Department Chair for 25 of those years. Jim and his wife Vanessa share a passion in music, they both served as the Ministers of Music and Liturgy at St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 31 years, retiring in 2019. Now Jim spends his time performing for the Amarillo Symphony and with students, faculty, and guest artists at WTAMU and Amarillo College.

Jim has been playing the piano for over 60 years! He also frequently plays other keyboard instruments such as organ, harpsichord, and celesta. For his bachelor’s degree in music education, Jim was a double major on trumpet and piano. Jim also enjoys singing (tenor) in choir! Jim loves the pianos versatility, “I can perform an entire work as a soloist, or I can collaborate with one or more other musicians, instrumental and/or vocal, in numerous possible combinations, including as a soloist with orchestra,” says Jim. “The solo piano repertoire is huge, and no matter how many pieces I have played, I feel that I’ve just “scratched the surface” of the music I want to learn.”

Other than performing Jim loves to travel! Jim and his wife Vanessa have visited all 50 of the United States as well as numerous foreign countries. He also loves bicycling, exercising/weight training, doing jigsaw puzzles, reading books, and playing with his 6 grandchildren! “I love Amarillo, in large part because even though the population is over 200,000, it has a “small-town” feel and wonderful sense of community, but with an incredible, thriving arts scene that rivals many large metropolitan cities,” says Jim. “We raised our 2 children, John and Ann Marie, here in Amarillo, and they were both intensely involved in the musical scene here, beginning with the Suzuki String Program, through the wonderful orchestra, choir, and theatre programs available in the public schools.  I have had so many phenomenal musical experiences here, particularly in my 43 years in the Amarillo Symphony!”

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