BACK­STAGE WITH… Con­duc­tor Rafael Pa­yare

BBC Music Magazine - - Live -

What made you choose Mozart and Mahler for your fi­nal con­cert as mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Ul­ster Or­ches­tra?

They are a win­ning com­bi­na­tion. Mozart’s Pi­ano Con­certo

No. 20 is so dark and links so per­fectly with the be­gin­ning of Mahler’s Fifth Sym­phony. The end of the Mahler is so joy­ful and full of light, which I thought was the per­fect way to end my tenure with the or­ches­tra. Co­in­ci­den­tally, my first con­cert as mu­sic di­rec­tor of the San Diego Sym­phony will also be Mahler Five, which a nice tran­si­tion.

Look­ing back, what have been the high points of your five years with the or­ches­tra?

We’ve done so much. We did all the Beethoven, Tchaikovsk­y and Brahms sym­phonies and came up with crazy pro­grammes in our se­ries com­bin­ing Shostakovi­ch with Strauss. It’s been so var­ied. We some­times com­bined works of the same num­ber, putting Beethoven’s Leonore Over­ture No. 2 with his Sym­phony No. 2 and Pi­ano Con­certo No. 2.

How has Belfast re­sponded to the or­ches­tra over the years?

At the be­gin­ning of my tenure, we were in a scary place be­cause we didn’t know whether the or­ches­tra could con­tinue. There was a big cam­paign with the city and the beau­ti­ful thing has been see­ing the au­di­ences grow ever since. It has been great to take them on jour­neys with these sym­phonic cy­cles and see them re­act so well.

Fi­nal count­down: ‘The per­fect way to end my tenure’

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