Rafael Payare appointed Music Director of Montréal Symphony Orchestra

Payare shares artistic vision with two vibrant, multi-cultural cities

San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare now joins many other internationally acclaimed conductors who have secured multiple, simultaneous Music Director posts. Today, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra (Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal) announced the appointment of Rafael Payare as their new Music Director beginning in the 2022–2023 season.

“This is very exciting news for Rafael and us!,” San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer comments. “After our first encounter with Rafael, we knew that he possessed the talent to become one of the most esteemed and profound conductors of our time, and now, he is deepening his impact in our musical world. The Montréal Symphony and the San Diego Symphony each had extensive Music Director searches. They came to the same and excellent conclusion that Rafael was uniquely qualified and the ideal choice for our respective orchestras.”

“To be able to have two great orchestras is something that gives me enormous joy and pleasure,” shares Rafael Payare, Music Director of the San Diego Symphony and Music Director-Elect of the Montréal Symphony Orchestra. “For me personally, it means that my family and I will be in two incredible, vibrant cities making music at the highest level for more than 20 weeks per year. I look forward to connecting these two beautiful cities and these two important ensembles, and the projects we can develop together.”

“In a year when there is too much distress in the world, this is a bright moment for all of us at the San Diego Symphony,” shared Jeff Thayer, San Diego Symphony Concertmaster. “For Rafael Payare to have been named Music Director of another major North American orchestra is wonderful news for us.  Not only will it add to Rafael's exposure, but certainly to ours, too.  His musical opportunities and experiences in Montreal and elsewhere will only bolster and energize our work on stage with him, a relationship which has very quickly become inspiring and fruitful, even throughout this pandemic.  I am extremely happy for Rafael and am a proud member of SDSO under his leadership.”

The San Diego Symphony recently extended Payare’s contract through the 2025–2026 season and looks forward to our artistic collaboration in the coming years. Payare’s unique perspective and musical upbringing fuel his vision to deeply engage with the community, finding new and enduring ways for the San Diego Symphony to play a more significant role in our region's vibrancy and growth.

You can read more from Rafael Payare on his new appointment with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra here. Please join us in congratulating Music Director Rafael Payare and our musical colleagues up north!

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