October 21, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Love at first sight for Payare

The toughest end of the year for Project Montreal

The selection of the music director of a large orchestra is a very complex operation. Of course, we have to consider his characteristics as a musician, his experience, his music culture. But this choice must take into account one important factor: the chemistry he can create with musicians.


Mario GirardMario Girard
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Undoubtedly this aspect has allowed Rafael Pierre to rise to the top of the list of candidates Kent Nagano has approached for success under the auspices of the OSM. The young Venezuelan conductor completely fascinated the musicians. And more than twice.

Photo provided by Antoine Saito, OSM

Rafael Pierre will lead OSM from the 2022-2023 season.

It’s no longer a secret. For the past three seasons, the conductors invited to OSM have been candidates in the cross-shares of the Selection Committee. In September 2018, Rafael Pierre hosted OSM at an event combining the works of Beefowen, Mozart and Sch‌nberg. The concert ignited the public and critics alike.

A real click occurred. “We immediately experienced the chemistry,” Andrew Vaughan, OSM principal violinist and musicians ’representative on the selection committee for the new conductor, told me. He is a great communicator. He is also a sensitive creature. ”

When the second meeting took place in July 2019 as part of the Lanadier Festival, musicians wondered if the magic would work again. “Yes, it happened again,” adds Andrew Vaughan. This level of cooperation is very rare. He is a chef with many facets, able to communicate subtle skills. We thought he was honest. And it is important to have faith. ”

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Each time a candidate leads OSM, musicians are invited to complete a survey. There was also a lot of discussion. The results of all this were reported to the selection committee. Andrew Vaughn told me that Rafael Payare received a “very high” score from the musicians.

The name Rafael Pierre is circulating. But he was not one of the first options. The announcement of the name probably did not surprise music experts, but surprised the general public. However, when we look at the journey of this leader, we understand what convinced the committee.

Rafael Payare is not a star, but he has everything it takes to become one in OSM. The same is important. In this regard, we must salute the courage of OSM management, which is not afraid to go along with its choice of risk choice.

One believes that Raphael Pierre’s choice is in line with the trend of the moment: the siege of youth. At age 40, Pierre takes in fresh air. This was undoubtedly one of the factors that influenced the selection of the committee. But be careful before going to conclusions.

Of the ten conductors known to OSM, Rafael Pierre was no exception. Charles Dutoit was 41 years old when he took over OSM in 1977. Franz-Paul Decker age 44. Patriarch Wilfrid Pelletier age 39. As for Zubin Mehta, he still holds the absolute record: the prize was only 24 when he handed over the management of OSM in 1960.

Little is known about Rafael Pierre. OSM made a short video in which we saw him walking in the snowy forest of Quebec. He speaks first in French and then in English. He looks very sympathetic, with whom we want to discuss.

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But beyond his charisma and his looks (which is no different to that of singer Laurent Volge), it remains to be seen what he will do behind the desk now. Where does OSM take it?

“I’m very fond of Kent Nagano,” Andrew Vaughan said. With him, we went a long way. With Pierre, it will probably be different. We will follow him. We need it. ”

During Orchester Metropolitan’s European tour in 2017, talking about their colleagues from OSM, the band’s musicians told me: “We really want a conductor like Yanic for them. ”

Through this they are surrounded, warm, kind leader. I have the impression that the musicians of OSM found exactly that with Payare. The great thing is that people have everything to gain from this kind of love at first sight.

The appointment of Rafael Pierre wants us to get back to the shows and concerts. Come on … Very lively With vaccines!