MONTREAL 〓 Rafael Payar will become the next music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra


The Montreal Symphony Orchestra announced on January 7 that it will welcome Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payar as the next music director.

He has a five-year term starting in the 2022/2023 season and will replace Kent Nagano, who was in charge from 2006 to 2020.

Payar is 40 years old born in Puerto La Cruz. He has been the music director of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in the United States since the 2019/2020 season and extended his contract last fall, extending his term to the 2025/2026 season.

His Montreal Symphony Orchestra debuted in 2018. It is the first time for a conductor from South America to take up the post of music director. It is said that he will start his activities as a substantial music director from the 2021/2022 season this season.

He studied the French horn in the Venezuelan music education system “El Sistema” and became a member of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra. After that, he officially began studying as a conductor in 2004 under Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu.

He then served as assistant conductor for Claudio Abbado and Gustavo Dudamel. In 2012, he won the Marco International Conductor Competition in Copenhagen. After that, in 2014, he became the principal conductor and music director of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland (-2019).

In 2015, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to replace Lorin Maazel, who died the previous year, and became the principal conductor of Maazel’s Castleton Music Festival.

Photo:Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

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