Breaking: Montreal names Venezuelan music director

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has just picked an outlier to succeed Kent Nagano.

The Venezuelan Rafael Payare will become its music director in September 2022 for an initial five years.

Nagano held the post for 14 years.

Payare, 40, is married to the American cellist Alisa Weilerstein. A product of Venezuela’s El Sistema, he is presently music director in San Diego, where he renewed recently to 2026. He was previously music director in Ulster.


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  • Rafael, if you read these, congratulations! Nice to read uplifting news amid the world horrors. Good luck there!

  • I didn’t see it coming and didn’t realize that he had risen to OSM-level stature in the music biz. Apparently he has, so congratulations to him and the OSM; he just landed a great orchestra in a fantastic city.

  • I guess he goes to the same barber shop as the Dude. Did any qualified white males apply for the position, just curious?

  • I hope he can stand the cold. Venezuela and San Diego have probably never had snow. Unless you climb Pico Bolívar.

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