Rafael Payare

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Worldwide general management with Askonas Holt

About Rafael

Music Director: Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Music Director: San Diego Symphony

The 2023/24 season marks Rafael Payare’s second season as Music Director of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and his fifth as Music Director of California’s San Diego Symphony.

With his innate musicianship, charismatic energy, gift for communication and irresistibly joyous spirit, Rafael works with the world’s leading orchestras including the Wiener Philharmoniker, Chicago Symphony, Munchner Philharmoniker, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Berlin Staatskapelle, New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and The Cleveland Orchestra. Highlights of the current season include return visits to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Orchestre National de France and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

Payare was previously Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra from 2014-2019, with whom he appeared twice at the BBC Proms in 2016 and 2019. He now holds the title of Conductor Laureate in recognition of his artistic contribution to the Orchestra and City of Belfast during his five-year tenure.


Worldwide general management with Askonas Holt

Season Highlights

Sep 2023
Philharmonie, Berlin
Unsuk Chin Cello Concerto Mahler Symphony No 5 Staatskapelle Berlin Alisa Weilerstein (cello)
Sep 2023
La Maison Symphonique, Montreal
Janacek Glagolitic Mass Stravinsky The Rite of Spring Orchestre symphonique de Montreal
Oct 2023
Carnegie Hall, New York
Simon Wake Up: A Concerto for Orchestra Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor Shostakovich Symphony No 5 San Diego Symphony Alisa Weilerstein (cello)




  • San Diego Symphony Orchestra / East Coast tour 2023/24

    Carnegie Hall, New York
    Oct 2023 - Oct 2023
    • The epicenter of symphonic activity in the Golden State seemed to shift southward Friday night, at least in Carnegie Hall, as the San Diego Symphony, led by its music director Rafael Payare, showed it could go toe-to-toe and note-for-note with those more storied ensembles up the coast... The Venezuelan conductor, another proud product of that country’s El Sistema program for young musicians, brought a youthful, dynamic presence to the podium that belied his 43 years.