Thierry Fischer has been appointed Music Director of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, from March 2020. He succeeds Marin Alsop in the post, who has been named Conductor Emeritus.
Fischer will conduct the orchestra for eight weeks in his first year at the helm, and for 12 weeks a year thereafter. According to a statement by the orchestra, the Swiss conductor was the search committee’s first choice.
‘For me it was a coup de foudre,’ said Thierry Fischer. ‘I was instantly excited by these players who have an infectious ambition to be the best example of what an orchestra can be in the 21st century. Their embrace of projects that challenge them and their attitude in approaching anything asked of them is fed by living in this great, vibrant, audacious, creative city. Their confidence and hunger is a magnetic force that is immensely exciting to me. I felt this from my first rehearsal with them and felt instantly connected to their aversion to repeating what’s been done before or doing things for the sake of it. I am deeply excited about what we can do together in the years ahead.’
Since 2009 Fischer has served as Music Director of the Utah Symphony (a post he steps down from in Summer 2022), and Principal Guest of the Seoul Philharmonic. His most recent recording, of Saint-Saëns Symphonies No 2 and Urbs Roma, and Danse macabre, on Hyperion was well received in our current issue. ‘Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony’s performances here are polished and graciously articulate … there’s exhilaration, too, mind you – in the quicksilver finale of the A minor Symphony, for example, Fischer and the orchestra show they can turn on a dime. The Danse macabre moves with an elegant yet persistent impetus; listening, one feels impelled to keep moving,’ writes critic Andrew Farach-Colton.
His opening São Paulo season will see him conduct Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos 1–8, Marin Alsop having conducted the Ninth in her final concert as Music Director in December 2019. During her time as Music Director – she took up the post in 2012 – Alsop recorded a Prokofiev symphony cycle with the orchestra for Naxos, as well as recordings of the music of her mentor Leonard Bernstein. She also conducted on tour in China – the first South American orchestra to tour the country.