Belfast Telegraph

Final wave of baton for Payare as Ulster Orchestra conductor

Last concert: Rafael Payare
Last concert: Rafael Payare
Alf McCreary

By Alf McCreary

Tributes have been paid to the Ulster Orchestra's "inspirational" music director Rafael Payare ahead of his final appearance tonight.

The concert is the last of the current season.

Payare, who was appointed chief conductor of the ensemble in 2014, is taking up a similar position with the San Diego Symphony.

The orchestra's managing director Richard Wigley said: "Raphael Payare has brought a confidence to the Ulster Orchestra that continues to grow concert by concert.

"He is an inspirational figure with an international profile who has worked with our musicians to create wonderful concerts and broadcasts.

"There is also a sense with his conducting that he will build the moments of great intensity that the music demands, generated through intense rehearsals and personal vision.

"His last concert with the Ulster Orchestra will feature in a BBC Henry Wood Promenade concert in the Royal Albert Hall in August, and that will be a major event and a fitting end to his tenure with us.

"All of those associated with the Ulster Orchestra wish him well and we are very grateful for his leadership during these past five years."

Payare is one of the most sought-after conductors in the world, and this autumn he will take up the prestigious post as music director of the Californian ensemble.

He is regarded as one of the Ulster Orchestra's best ever conductors and has had a major impact with the players and the loyal local audiences which have packed the Ulster Hall.

He said: "I am so happy for my partnership with you and the Ulster Orchestra and I am really grateful for being part of this amazing journey we have taken together."

This was Payare's first post as a principal conductor, and that is always a special link for any young maestro.

He is also very appreciative of the friendships he has forged here with his wife Alisa Weilerstein, the internationally-acclaimed solo cellist.

Payare added: "Northern Ireland will remain in my heart forever and I look forward to returning in future seasons."

During his time here he has worked as guest conductor with some of the world's greatest orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony.

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