As newly appointed Principal Conductor for The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Guillermo Figueroa will lead the orchestra into an exciting new chapter in the 2016–2017 Season. While The Symphony’s 33rd Season began in September of 2016, Guillermo’s premiere concert as Principal Conductor will take place in January of 2017—our new Maestro in the New Year!
Highlights of our spring performances under Guillermo’s baton include Brahms’s Symphony No. 4, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Lauridsen’s Lux aeterna with The Symphony Chorus, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. For The Symphony’s 2017–2018 season of performances at The Lensic, we look forward to Guillermo leading the majority of our concerts, September through May.
In addition to his Symphony role, Guillermo serves as Music Director of the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, Colorado, and Music Director and Conductor of the Lynn Philharmonia at the Lynn Conservatory in Florida. He was also the Founder and Artistic Director of The Figueroa Music and Arts Project in Albuquerque. Additionally, Figueroa was the Music Director of both the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico. With this last orchestra, he performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall in 2003, the Kennedy Center in 2004, and in Spain in 2005.
Guillermo’s international appearances as a Guest Conductor include the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands (Iceland Symphony Orchestra), Polska Filharmonia Bałtycka (Polish Baltic Philharmonic), La Orquesta Estable del Teatro Argentino, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, Orquesta de Córdoba in Spain, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile. In the United States, he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Detroit, New Jersey, Memphis, Phoenix, Colorado, Berkeley, Tucson, Santa Fe, Toledo, Fairfax, and San Jose, as well as the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center and the Juilliard Orchestra.
Many of the leading artists of our time have collaborated with Guillermo, including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn, Placido Domingo, Joshua Bell, Olga Kern, János Starker, James Galway, Midori, Horacio Gutiérrez, the Emerson String Quartet, the Fine Arts Quartet, Ben Heppner, Rachel Barton Pine, Pepe and Ángel Romero, Elmar Oliveira, Vadim Gluzman, and Philippe Quint.
An advocate for new music, Guillermo and the NMSO won the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in 2007. He has conducted the premieres of works by important composers such as Roberto Sierra, Ernesto Cordero, and Miguel del Águila. A Berlioz specialist, he created the most comprehensive Berlioz Festival in the United States in 2003 for the composer’s bicentennial.
A renowned violinist as well, his recording of Ernesto Cordero’s violin concertos for the Naxos label received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2012. Guillermo was Concertmaster of the New York City Ballet and a Founding Member and Concertmaster of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, making over fifty recordings for Deutsche Grammophon. Also accomplished on the viola, Guillermo performs frequently as a guest of the Fine Arts, American, Amernet, and Orion string quartets.
Guillermo has given the world premieres of four violin concertos written for him: in 1995, the Concertino by Mario Davidovsky at Carnegie Hall with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; in 2007, the Double Concerto by Harold Farberman with the American Symphony at Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center; in 2008, the Violin Concerto by Miguel del Águila, commissioned by Guillermo and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra; and, in 2009, Ínsula: Suite Concertante by Ernesto Cordero with Croatia’s world-famous ensemble I Solisti di Zagreb.
His festival appearances have included the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards in California, Festival Groba in Spain, and New Mexico’s Music from Angel Fire. Guillermo has recorded the three violin sonatas by Bartók for the Eroica Classical label with pianist Robert Koenig, and an album of virtuoso violin music for the NMSO label with pianist Ivonne Figueroa.
At the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, Guillermo studied with his father and uncle. At the Juilliard School, his teachers were Oscar Shumsky and Felix Galimir. His conducting studies were with Harold Farberman in New York.</div>
It is my great pleasure and honor to greet you as the new Principal Conductor of the extraordinary Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. For thirty-three years, our “City Different” has been host to “The Symphony Different,” creating and maintaining a standard of excellence that is the pride of our town.
And just how different are we? It starts with the musicians: a committed and brilliant group of artists who not only display their great talents at every performance but who, unlike many other orchestras, are actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the orchestra. It was the musicians who chose me as the Principal Conductor, as they did with my predecessors, and I am humbled and grateful to have been selected through such an innovative process.
This process creates a natural and powerful bond and rapport, between the conductor and orchestra and the musicians themselves, that is palpable and vibrant. This vibrancy is even more apparent when The Symphony Chorus adds their own exuberance to our choral masterworks. Such collaboration provides for intense, passionate performances that speak directly to the audience.
The premiere of Guillermo Figueroa as The Symphony’s Principal Conductor arrives, with Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia, Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto featuring The Symphony’s own Principal Bassoon Stefanie Przybylska, and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 in E Minor.
Figueroa leads The Symphony Orchestra in a series of uplifting and joyous works, including Schubert’s so-called “Unfinished” Symphony. Jason Vieaux, recent recipient of the Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo Album, will lead the stage in a glorious modern guitar concerto by Joaquin Rodrigo, Fantasia para un Gentilhombre.
Led by Figueroa, The Symphony Orchestra will share the stage with brilliant violinist Jinjoo Cho as she performs Glazunov’s infamously challenging Violin Concerto. Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, a majestic and transformational work, will conclude the evening.
Figueroa leads the finale to the 33rd Season with a bombastic set of works featuring The Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in full. The afternoon begins with Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna for chorus and chamber orchestra, followed by Mendelssohn’s complex setting of Psalm 114, “Da Israel aus Ägypten zog.” The season concludes with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, likely the very best loved work by that perpetually astounding composer.