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San Diego Symphony Names Rafael Payare Its New Musical Director

Rafael Payare, shown in this undated photo, has been named the new musical di...

Credit: San Diego Symphony Orchestra

Above: Rafael Payare, shown in this undated photo, has been named the new musical director of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.

The San Diego Symphony has named as its new musical director Rafael Payare. He takes over from Jahja Ling, who retired last year.

Payare is a 37-year-old Venezuelan who is currently musical director of the Ulster Orchestra, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has performed with several major symphonies, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic.

San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer called Payare a conductor of "international acclaim." She said he led the San Diego Symphony just last month, and quickly formed a bond with the orchestra's musicians.

"He's got a maturity about him he's got great depth of musical knowledge," said Gilmer. "He's also got this charisma and excitement in making of the music that was really felt by the people on the stage and the people in the hall."

The symphony's previous director Jahja Ling led the San Diego symphony for 13 years. Ling is remembered for rebuilding the orchestra and leading the group to its first-ever performance in Carnegie Hall.

Payare is in Europe and was not available for comment. But in a statement, released by the San Diego Symphony, he expressed an eagerness to perform in San Diego.

"I am inspired to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness in the San Diego region," Payare said. "I feel a special connection to San Diego. I grew up living on the edge of the sea, so I immediately felt at home.”

Paraye has played the french horn and he served as principal horn of Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Orchestra. For now, he will hold the post of "musical director designate" with the San Diego Symphony. He becomes the musical director of the symphony in July of next year.

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