Rafael Payare


Internationally renowned conductor Rafael Payare will take on the role of Music Director of the OSM. Mr. Payare will become the 9th Music Director in the history of the Orchestra.

The Venezuelan conductor, whose appointment was unanimously endorsed by the selection committee, will take up the position of Designated Music Director  on September 1st, 2021. Succeeding Kent Nagano, he will assume his full duties beginning with the 2022-2023 season, for a period of at least five years.

Rafael Payare and the OSM, an ongoing relationship

Mr. Payare’s debut with the Orchestra in 2018 was a hugely memorable occasion and his natural rapport with the OSM musicians was immediate. This connection was reaffirmed on his return to the Orchestra in 2019. For the 2020-21 season of the OSM, it is as artist-in-residence* that Mr. Payare will demonstrate the extent of his talents to the Quebec public.

“Rafael Payare’s passion, energy and determination, his Latin roots and his engaging personality are attributes that will undoubtedly appeal to Montreal audiences.” – Madeleine Careau, CEO of the OSM

Montreal, the continuation of a dazzling journey

Rafael Payare, who is 40, is one of the most prominent and internationally sought-after conductors of the new generation. His innate musicianship, his brilliant technique and the charisma he radiates on the podium characterize his musical style and approach. Mr. Payare trained as a French horn player and graduated from the acclaimed music education program El Sistema. His talent was soon recognized by Maestro José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema’s founder, with whom he began his formal studies in orchestral conducting in 2004.

Since winning the prestigious Malko International Competition for Young Conductors in Denmark in 2012, Mr. Payare’s career has advanced rapidly. From 2014 to 2019, he was Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra and since 2019 he has been Music Director of the San Diego Symphony.

«He is a prodigious artist, who combines the gift of rare sound perfection with a deep, delicate, intense and quivering sensitivity.» – Le Monde

In recent years, he has conducted many of the world’s most prestigious symphony orchestras, in Paris, Vienna, London, Munich, Chicago and Berlin, among others.

To consult:

– Our portrait : Rafael Payare: Music as the Breath of Life
– Website : rafaelpayare.com

* Artist-in-residence generously sponsored by The Rossy Foundation