The 2022–23 season marked Rafael Payare’s first season as music director of the Montreal Symphony and his fourth season as music director of San Diego Symphony Orchestra. From 2014–19 he was principal conductor and music director of the Ulster Orchestra, and he now holds the title of conductor laureate.

Mr. Payare has worked with many of Europe’s leading ensembles, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and Czech Philharmonic. Since making his North American debut with the Chicago Symphony in 2015, he has worked with many major US orchestras as well.

In the 2022–23 season Mr. Payare launched a multi-year Mahler cycle with the Montreal Symphony, as well as his first European tour with the orchestra. This season he makes his Carnegie Hall debut , as well as his debut with the New York Philharmonic. As an opera conductor, he has performed at the Glyndebourne Festival, Berlin State Opera, Royal Stockholm Opera, and Royal Danish Opera, and this season he debuts at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducting Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Born in 1980, Mr. Payare is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema. He began his formal conducting studies in 2004 with José Antonio Abreu. In addition to conducting the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, Mr. Payare served as principal horn and participated in many tours and recordings.

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