Rafael Payare – Honorary Guest Conductor
Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare’s profound musicianship, technical brilliance and charismatic presence on the podium has elevated him as one of the most sought after young conductors, working regularly with the world’s leading orchestras.
Notable invitations during the 2015/16 season included the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, NDR Sinfonieochester Hamburg, Czech Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Southbank Centre, plus return visits to the Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic where he will return during the 16/17 season to conduct La Boheme. Other highlights of the current season include debuts with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and NHK Symphony Orchestra. He will also make two appearances at the Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam with the Rotterdam and Netherland Radio Philharmonic orchestras and will return to the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Southbank Centre and the Munich Philharmonic.
In May 2012, Payare was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition, and in July 2012, he was personally invited by his mentor, the late Lorin Maazel, to conduct at his Castleton Festival in Virginia. This led to a close association and, in 2015, he was honoured to accept the position of Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival.
Born in 1980 and a graduate of the celebrated El Sistema in Venezuela, Payare began his formal conducting studies in 2004 with José Antonio Abreu. He has conducted all the major orchestras in Venezuela, including the Simón Bolívar Orchestra.