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Austrian maestro Hans Graf to be appointed Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s new chief conductor

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

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 2018, 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 as the SSO’s new director of artistic planning in January.

Graf will plan and conduct six concert weeks in the 2020/21 season as well as work with the orchestra to develop an artistic vision, a statement from the SSO said. Sorenson will plan the orchestra’s programmes in line with this vision. Graf will conduct eight concert weeks for each subsequent season.

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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 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.

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This article was originally published in The Straits Times.

Photo: Singapore Symphony Orchestra