When students in the Bakersfield Youth Symphony perform on Tuesday evening, they will be doing so with the help of an incredible legacy left to them by the late conductor Richard Rintoul, whose talent, like theirs, was discovered and nurtured in Kern County classrooms.
The orchestra's opening fall concert is just five days short of the first anniversary of Rintoul's death at age 56 from a heart attack.
Though much of Rintoul's career as a conductor and acclaimed violist was spent in Southern California, his loyalty and affection for his hometown never wavered.
"The high schools in Bakersfield were his first professional gig," said his wife, Lynette Rintoul. "He traveled to four high schools in town to teach."
And so when the time came for Mrs. Rintoul to find a beneficiary of her husband's remarkable and extensive library of orchestral scores, she ultimately selected the Bakersfield Youth Symphony.
"There were a number of considerations," she said. "One is obviously Richard grew up in Bakersfield."
Mrs. Rintoul said her husband's childhood experience taught him that Bakersfield music students often lack the same resources and opportunities that students in the Los Angeles area have.
"He was always trying to give kids a leg up," she said.
Rintoul's library -- which includes works by Debussy, Bach, Brahms, Shostakovich, Wagner, Weber and Beethoven -- takes up 27 file drawers and two giant storage bins, according to BYSO board president Karen Blockley, who estimates there are nearly 700 scores, and most of them include complete orchestra parts. Three out of the four scores to be performed at Tuesday's concert come from Rintoul's library.
"This is the most amazing collection," Blockley said. "It's really a wide-reaching repertoire."
And with the library comes two additional benefits: The orchestra will save money by renting or buying fewer scores, and less preparation time will be required.
Blockley said board members -- all performing musicians -- normally spend weeks preparing the parts, especially writing in directions for bowings for the string instruments. But the parts in the library have already been marked -- by Rintoul himself.
"This saves us weeks in preparation time," Blockley said. "When the students finish their concert on Tuesday and turn in their folders, they will already be able to get their folders for the next concert.
"Richard was a very, very fine violist. We looked at his markings and said, 'We can't do any better than this.'"
Born in 1955, Rintoul was raised in Bakersfield, the son of Dave and Mary Rintoul, and attended Highland High School.
After high school, Rintoul began his music studies at Cal State Northridge, focusing on the violin. His teacher, frustrated with his progress, told him to either give up or switch to the viola.
Rintoul took his teacher's advice, and made the viola his primary instrument. Finishing his undergraduate studies at Cal Arts, Rintoul also became interested in conducting, and studied with Daniel Lewis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Erich Leinsdorf, Morton Gould, Herbert Blomstedt, Christopher Hogwood and Leonard Bernstein.
For more than two decades, Rintoul had been active as both conductor and violist and devoted himself to teaching in Southern California. He was founder and musical director of the Orchestra da Camera at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, the UCSB and CSU Long Beach orchestras, among many others, led several youth orchestras and was guest conductor for many more ensembles.
He also played with several Los Angeles-area chamber groups and orchestras, was an in-demand recording artist for the film industry, and served several area churches as a musician.
In more recent years, Rintoul returned to conduct the Kern County honor orchestras at the annual Grand Night for Music concerts.
"Those were always really meaningful events for him," Mrs. Rintoul said. "It was always a real homecoming feel for him coming back to Bakersfield."