Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36
Concerto for piano and orchestra in A Minor, Op. 16
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28
Pablo de Sarasate
Carmen Fantasy for violin and orchestra, Op. 25
Undoubtedly a brilliant conductor of truly rare substance.
Michael Bastian Weiss (AZ Kultur – 25th February 2015)
Rafael Payare has been Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra since September 2014 and was recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival in Virginia, taking over from the late Lorin Maazel.
Developing into one of the most sought after young conductors, Payare has made recent debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, London Symphony and the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival. Other highlights have included the City of Birmingham Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony and the Los Angeles and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras. 2014/15 also saw his acclaimed opera debut conducting Madame Butterfly at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. He has enjoyed collaborations with soloists including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Nikolai Lugansky, Alisa Weilerstein, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Sergey Khachatryan, Jonathan Biss and Alexander Melnikov.
Highlights of Payare’s 2015/16 season include the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Zurich Opera Orchester and the Bamberg Symphony; as well as return visits to the Cincinnati Symphony, CBSO, Rotterdam and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras. With the Ulster Orchestra, as well as continuing their Beethoven and Tchaikovsky cycle and exploring a variety of repertoire, he will lead the players in a busy schedule of education and outreach projects in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland.
In July 2012, Payare was personally invited by his mentor, the late Lorin Maazel, to conduct at his Castleton Festival in Virginia. This led to a close association and he was recently honoured to accept the position of Principal Conductor and returned to Castleton in July 2015 to conduct performances of Gounodʼs Romeo and Juliette and Beethovenʼs 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, alongside such conductors as Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin and Jiří Bělohlávek.
Born in 1980 and 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 Simón Bolívar 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 Claudio Abbado for his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra and in September 2012 was invited by Daniel Barenboim to assist on his production of Siegfried at the Berlin Staatsoper.
In May 2012 he was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition.
A musician of tremendous emotional power, depth and expressiveness, Ivo Kahánek has gained his reputation as one of the most exciting pianists of his generation and is considered the best Czech contemporary pianist. He is recognised as one of the impressive Romantic pianists and also as a specialist in Czech piano music.
He won the Prague Spring International Music Competition in 2004 and gained awards at other leading international piano competitions (Maria Canals Piano Competition in Barcelona, Vendome Prize in Vienna, Stiftung Tomassoni Wettbewerb in Cologne, Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Marienbad, Concertino Praga, etc.).
After his successful debuts at Beethovenfest Bonn and Prague Spring Festival he was invited by the BBC to perform the Incantations – Fourth Piano Concerto by Bohuslav Martinů at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jiří Bělohlávek. The concert took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London in August 2007 and was broadcast live by the BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Television as well as the Czech National Radio station “Vltava”. This critically acclaimed Proms debut is now being offered by Deutsche Grammophon as a digital download. It’s no wonder that Ivo Kahánek was selected by Sir Simon Rattle to perform at two concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker in November 2014, followed by enthusiastic reactions of critics and the general public alike. Moreover, Ivo Kahánek performs regularly with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and has made highly appreciated performances with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Glasgow, WDR Orchestra Cologne, Philharmonie Essen, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, Brno Philharmonic and many others. He has performed with internationally renowned artists, e.g. conductors Pinchas Steinberg, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrey Boreyko, Jakub Hrůša, Zdeněk Mácal, Tomáš Netopil, violinist Daniel Hope, cellist Alissa Weilerstein, Pavel Haas Quartet, Tetzlaff Quartet etc.
In 2017 he performed in concert tours of Germany, Monaco, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, playing piano concertos by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Martinů and Bartók. Moreover, he will give solo recitals in London, Monte Carlo, Porto, Prague, Herceg Novi and many cities.
So far Ivo Kahánek has released nine CDs under the Supraphon Music label (which he has entered an exclusive contract into). His solo CD (Janáček-Martinů-Kabeláč) has received top rates in prestigious musical journals (Le Monde de la Musique, Classics Today, Fanfare). Besides that he frequently collaborates with Czech Radio and Czech Television. His last solo record was devoted to Fryderyk Chopinʼs music (Sonata No. 2 in B minor, 4 Scherzi). A recording of songs by Bohuslav Martinů is to be released by Supraphon with the exquisite soprano, Martina Janková, as well as a CD with the piano and chamber works by Viktor Kalabis.
A graduate of both the Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Ivo Kahánek also graduated from the Advanced Instrumental Studies course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and participated in master classes with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Christian Zacharias, Alicia de Larocha, Imogen Cooper, Peter Frankl and many others.
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