The San Diego Symphony's search for a new music director has been ongoing for the past two seasons and has now been resolved. There have been a legion of guest conductors on the podium, and a few of us have expressed our preferences, but the time for speculation is at an end.
The next music director of the San Diego Symphony, under a four year contract, is from Venezuela. He conducted a magnificent concert earlier this year featuring Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. He has a compelling presence on the stage and conducts from memory.
Rafael Payare is a fun conductor to watch
I’m stalling and trying to create a sense of anticipation, but it probably isn’t working so I’ll just tell you who it is.
The San Diego Symphony can go ahead with a “mic drop” after this announcement. They can take a victory lap or perform an elaborate end zone celebration. This is a game winning touchdown for the symphony and for San Diego.
Payare will debut in his role of music director in January of 2019. That is in the 2018-19 season. Beginning in the 2019-20 Payare will begin conducting the orchestra for 10 weeks each season. That schedule also includes the Bayside Summer Nights which means he will not be solely focused on the masterworks series.
It’s another wise move by the symphony leadership. Exposing the greater San Diego community to Payare via the Summer Nights series should prove beneficial. After all, Payare’s famous colleague and countryman Gustavo Dudamel made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl as part of their summer season.
Payare has a resume as august as any with a burgeoning relationship underway between him and the Vienna Philharmonic which was established in 2015. Of particular interest to yours truly is the Bruckner cycle which Payare is conducting with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra in Denmark.
Oh dear, sweet Jesus, hear my prayer and let there be a Bruckner cycle in San Diego. I promise to be good. Amen.