Bravissimo! July 2019

Next Chapter: SSO Announces New Chief Conductor

Singapore Symphony Orchestra

In early July, the SSO made the news with the announcement of its Chief Conductor designate, celebrated Austrian maestro Hans Graf.

Following the departure of Music Director Lan Shui — who completed an illustrious 22-year tenure with the orchestra, SSO had re-designed his role into two positions: Director for Artistic Planning (which was filled by Hans Sorenson in January 2019) and Chief Conductor, which Graf will take up in July 2020.

In Graf, SSO has appointed an internationally established conductor with highly regarded expertise in core orchestral repertoire. Graf has served as Music Director at distinguished orchestras like the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, the Basque National Orchestra, and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine. He was most recently Music Director at the Houston Symphony.

No stranger to Singapore, the 70-year-old Grammy-awarded conductor led SSO concerts in 2015 and 2018, where reviewers extolled Graf’s conducting as “an inspired partnership”, leading the SSO to “play with such delicacy and sensitivity.”

When I first came to Singapore, I found an orchestra of international level. Now I am pleased and honoured to be invited to work with them in the future: I feel in them the joy of making music which fuels their assiduous effort to reach ever higher levels, and it will be my goal to lead and go forward with them in this noble passion.

Hans Graf on his SSO appointment

A stream of warm congratulations has flowed in from the local arts community as well as orchestras outside Singapore, with one website calling this a “maestro move” on the part of the SSO.

Hans Graf brings to Singapore an immense and diverse wealth of musical experience and awareness, as the SSO builds momentum to becoming one of the world's most distinctive orchestras. YST Conservatory looks forward to working with Mr Graf and the orchestra at this exciting and dynamic time for music and music education in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Professor Bernard Lanskey, Dean of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music

This announcement comes at the 40th anniversary of the SSO LINK HERE, marked by a six-month celebration of the milestone that included an anniversary gala concert, fundraising dinner, and special series of community concerts for the Singapore public.

Elaine Yeo, an SSO musician since 1992, said, “Maestro Graf is a highly respected artist with a great sense of musicianship and experience. We really enjoyed playing under him when he was here last year, and we are looking forward to forging a new relationship with one of the great maestros of our time. I’m sure he will bring the orchestra to even higher levels of performance and music-making.”

Graf will return as Guest Conductor for a concert in January 2020 before taking up his Chief Conductor position in July 2020. Watch this space!

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