Austrian maestro Hans Graf appointed SSO chief conductor

Hans Graf was music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2013 and holds the title of Conductor Laureate.
Hans Graf was music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2013 and holds the title of Conductor Laureate.PHOTO: SINGAPORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

He had conducted Singapore Symphony Orchestra concerts in 2015 and last year

Austrian maestro Hans Graf will be the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's (SSO) new chief conductor.

The 70-year-old, who conducted SSO concerts in 2015 and last year, said in a statement: "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."

Graf is the second new appointee announced after music director Shui Lan stepped down in January, after leading the orchestra for 22 years. Hans Sorenson, 56, was appointed the SSO's new director of artistic planning in January.

Graf will plan and conduct six concert weeks in the 2020/21 season and continue to conduct eight concert weeks in subsequent seasons. This would translate to about six concerts, depending on the season's concert and recording schedules.

He will also work with the orchestra to develop an artistic vision, which Sorenson will use to plan the orchestra's programmes.

Mr Goh Yew Lin, board chairman of the Singapore Symphony Group, said: "I am delighted to welcome Hans Graf as our chief conductor. He brings with him a wealth of experience and insightful musicianship, in repertoire ranging from the core classical repertoire to the peaks of the 20th-century repertoire. His rapport with SSO musicians was exceptional from their first concert together. I look forward to working with him as we continue to build on the strong foundations that have been established over the past 40 years by our first two music directors."

Graf was music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2013 and holds the title of Conductor Laureate.

Before his appointment to the Houston Symphony Orchestra, he had held the post of music director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and of the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years.

He also led the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg from 1984 to 1994 and the Basque National Orchestra from 1994 to 1996.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2019, with the headline 'Austrian maestro Hans Graf appointed SSO chief conductor'. Print Edition | Subscribe