Rafael Payare to be become Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s new music director – Montreal


The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal announced Thursday that Rafael Payare will become the orchestra’s next music director.

The 40-year-old, born in Venezuela, will become music director designate on Sept. 1, taking over from Maestro Kent Nagano who conducted the orchestra from 2006 to 2020.

Payare’s appointment was a unanimous decision by the 11-member OSM selection committee.

Payare made his debut with the OSM in 2018 with a concert featuring the music of Beethoven, Schonberg and Mozart.

“Since the first moment, we had an amazing connection on stage,” Payare said in a OSM video posted on social media. “Just to think about it makes me smile.”

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Payare describes how together, the orchestra rediscovered the piece, making it their own.

“At that moment, it was a new piece, that we were doing together and that connection is just chemistry.”

Those feelings are mutual, according to musician Andrew Wan, the OSM’s concertmaster and a member of the selection committee.

“From the very first moments of working with Maestro Payare, in Sept. 2018, we all felt a deep connection and tremendous chemistry with this exceptional artist,” Wan said in a written statement.

“I am ​thrilled​ to welcome him into our family here in Montreal.”

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Payare trained as a French horn player and graduated from the acclaimed music education program El Sistema, founded in 1975 by Venezuelan educator, musician and activist José Antonio Abreu.

One of the core tenets of El Sistema program is the belief music should be part of everyone’s education — that it is a right, not a privilege.

It was because of Abreu himself that Payare began formal studies in orchestral training in 2004.

The experience was a defining moment in Payare’s life.

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“When the founder of El Sistema, José Antonio Abreu told me that he could help me to have the study for conducting that gem opened and everything made sense since that moment on,” Payare said.

Payara went on to conduct numerous orchestras and was awarded first place at the prestigious international Malko Competition for Young Conductors in 2012.

Read more:
Maestro Kent Nagano prepares for final season with Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Payare said he’s excited to move forward with the organization and pointed to shared values.

“We always try to achieve for excellence artistically but more importantly we want to include as many people as possible,” he said.  “We try to reach out to the community and try to bring the miracle of music into people’s lives.”

Payare lauded the OSM community initiatives including free concerts in parks, the Virée classique and the orchestra’s various educational programs.

“This deep-rooted presence in the community, a part of the Orchestra’s DNA since its founding, fits perfectly with my idea of the social role a symphony orchestra can, and must, play,” he said.

Click to play video 'Montreal Symphony Orchestra spreads holiday cheer to sick kids'

Montreal Symphony Orchestra spreads holiday cheer to sick kids

Montreal Symphony Orchestra spreads holiday cheer to sick kids – Nov 29, 2019

Payare officially takes on the role of music director for the  2022-2023 season and will stay on for at least five years.

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Those who can’t wait that long, however, are in luck.

As artist in residence for the 2020-2021 season, Payare is conducting three OSM concerts the first of which, will be presented live on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The concert can be viewed online, free of charge at Payare will be conducting Berlioz’ Roman Carnival and Brahms’ Symphony no. 1 in C minor, op. 68.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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