Rafael Payare, conductor

San Diego Symphony Music Director Designate

A New Era Begins!

Rafael Payare is the next Music Director of the San Diego Symphony.

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Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare’s profound musicianship, technical brilliance and charismatic presence on the podium has elevated him as one of the most sought-after young conductors, working regularly with the world’s leading orchestras.

Highlights of the 2017-18 season will include return visits to the Vienna Philharmonic for concerts at the Vienna Konzerthaus and on tour with Elina Garanca, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Czech Philharmonic and the Orchestre de le Suisse Romande, plus debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, Minnesota Orchestra and his Berlin subscription debut with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. He will also commence a Bruckner symphony cycle with the Aalborg Symfoniorkester in Denmark.

In May 2012 Mr. Payare was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition, and in July 2012 he was personally invited by his mentor, the late Lorin Maazel, to conduct at Maazel’s Castleton Festival in Virginia. This led to a close association, and in July 2015 he was honored to accept the position of Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival. In the summer of 2015 he conducted performances of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette and a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in memory of Lorin Maazel.

Born in 1980 and a graduate of the celebrated El Sistema in Venezuela, Rafael Payare began his formal conducting studies in 2004 with José Antonio Abreu. He has conducted all the major orchestras in Venezuela, including the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. Having also served as Principal Horn of the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, he took part in many prestigious tours and recordings with conductors, including Giuseppe Sinopoli, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Lorin Maazel.