Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Appoints Rafael Payare as New Music Director

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Henry Fair)

Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal has announced the appointment of Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare its new Music Director.

Payare will start his five-year tenure during the 2022-23 season. The Venezuelan conductor will replace the famed conductor Kent Nagano, who has held the position since 2006.

Payare graduated from the famous musical education program “El Sistema.” He won the international Malko competition in Denmark in 2012, and subsequently became the Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra from 2014 to 2019. The Venezuelan conductor is currently serving as the Music Director of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.

“Today’s announcement is the result of rigorous efforts that began in 2017 to choose a successor for Kent Nagano, who did not wish to renew his contract at the end of the 2019-2020 season,” said McGill University principal and vice-chancellor Suzanne Fortier. “Based on solid selection criteria, our search was global in scope. It was an honor for me to chair this committee and I’m very happy with the result. We were able to identify a candidate of the highest quality, Rafael Payare, whom we unanimously recommended to the OSM’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.”

Rafael Payare recently conducted Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” at the Glyndebourne Festival. The conductor is scheduled to take over the pit of the Staatsoper unter der Linden for the run of Puccini’s “La bohème,” featuring Elsa Dreisig, Aida Garifullina, and Dmitry Korchak.