Published on 11 September 2019

© 2019 Association for Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPPAC)

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has announced Austrian maestro Hans Graf as its Chief Conductor designate. Graf will assume the position from the 2020/21 concert season, beginning mid-2020.

The Austrian conductor is currently Conductor Laureate of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2013, making him the longest-serving Music Director in the orchestra. Graf’s extensive experience also includes helming Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg (1984–1994), Calgary Philharmonic (1995 – 2003) and Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine (1998–2004).

Houston Symphony – 2011 class photo, maestro Hans Graf conducting, and sections.

New chief conductor role

This SSO appointment follows the conclusion of a 22-year career by Music Director Lan Shui, who stepped down in January 2019.

The Music Director role was thereafter reorganised into two functions: a Chief Conductor who plans and presents a set number of concerts per year, and a Director of Artistic Planning who programmes the rest of the orchestra and chamber music seasons. (The latter role was assumed by Hans Sørensen in January.)

Photo credit: Singapore Symphony Orchestra

“I feel in them the joy of making music”

The Singapore Symphony Group which manages the SSO, held a global search for the position of Chief Conductor. The process involved seeking the views of the orchestra musicians, the administrative staff, as well as major stakeholders.

On the appointment, Graf said, “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.”

“Singapore is a metropolis in many ways and also in the arts, and we will expand this importance with pride and commitment — and with our contagious love of great music — for the world and for the music lovers here in town,” he added.

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