Chief Conductor: Ulster Orchestra
Principal Conductor: Castleton Festival
"Undoubtedly a brilliant conductor of truly rare substance."
Michael Bastian Weiss - AZ Kultur - 25 February 2015
Rafael Payare is emerging as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation and recently opened his first season as Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra. Since being awarded first prize at the Malko Conducting Competition in 2012, he has made debuts with, amongst others, the London Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and the Los Angeles and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras. In January 2015 he made his acclaimed debut with the Vienna Philharmonic conducting three concerts at the Vienna Musikverein and the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Highlights of 2014-15 and beyond include debuts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Chicago Symphony (Ravinia Festival) Bamberg Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic & the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He will also make his opera debut at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm conducting 'Madame Butterfly'.
In July 2012, he made his debut at Lorin Maazel's Castleton Festival conducting Mahler Symphony No 5 and has enjoyed a close association with the Festival ever since. He was recently honoured to accept the position of Principal Conductor and will return to Castleton in July 2015 to conduct performances of Gounod 'Romeo and Juliette' and Beethoven Symphony No 9. He also enjoys a close relationship with the celebrated Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki, who invited Rafael to conduct part of his 80th birthday concerts in Warsaw in May 2013, alongside such conductors as Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin and Jiří Bělohlávek.
A graduate of the celebrated El Sistema in Venezuela, Payare began his formal conducting studies in 2004 with José Antonio Abreu and has conducted all the major orchestras in Venezuela, including the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, both in Caracas and in Toronto as part of their 2009 Canadian tour. Having also served as Principal Horn of the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, he took part in many prestigious tours and recordings with conductors including Giuseppe Sinopoli, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Lorin Maazel.
As an assistant conductor, he has worked under Gustavo Dudamel, most recently for his staged production of Marriage of Figaro with the LA Philharmonic, and served as assistant conductor to the late Claudio Abbado for his performance of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. In September 2012, Daniel Barenboim personally invited him to assist for his production of Siegfried at the Berlin Staatsoper.