Rafael Payare appointed chief conductor in Ulster

Andrew Mellor15th Jan 2014
Rafael Payare (photo by Luis Cobelo)Rafael Payare (photo by Luis Cobelo)

Rafael Payare, former principal horn player in the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, has accepted his first Chief Conductorship. The Venezuelan will succeed JoAnn Falletta as Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra at the start of the 2014-15 season.

‘Rafael’s exceptional musicality and his natural command and energy on the podium have impressed everyone. We can’t wait to begin working with him in earnest’ said Dr Rosa Solinas, Chief Executive of the Belfast ensemble. ‘We think his fresh approach to music-making – not only in the concert hall but throughout the community – is great news for Belfast and for the whole of Northern Ireland.’

33-year-old Payare has been engaged by a raft of high-profile orchestras since winning the Malko Competition for Young Conductors in May 2012, including the CBSO and the LA Philharmonic. Gramophone was at the final of the competition in Copenhagen, noting the conductor’s ‘presence and naturalness’. Matthias Kjøller, clarinettist in the Danish National Symphony Orchestra commented following the winning performance that Rafael was the ‘candidate with the biggest potential…who has something more inside.’

Payare will be involved in the Ulster Orchestra’s community engagement operations which, according to the orchestra, include plans ‘to introduce the celebrated El Sistema programme of social musical education to Northern Ireland’ from 2014-15.

‘From the moment I first conducted the Ulster Orchestra in October, the players made a great impression on me’ commented Payare on his appointment. ‘The chemistry was immediate and a very special bond was formed. I am really looking forward to embarking on the wonderful journey that is about to start.’

He will conduct his first concert as principal conductor at the start of the new season, but next appears with the orchestra at a BBC concert at Ulster Hall in March.

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© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2014