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Hans Graf (Conductor)

Hans Graf (born 15 February 1949, Austria). He studied at the Musikhochschule in Graz, Austria, and graduated with diplomas in piano and conducting. He continued his conducting studies with Franco Ferrara, Sergiu Celibidache and Arvid Jansons. In 1975-76, Graf was music director of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in Baghdad. His international career was launched in 1979 when he was awarded first prize at the Karl Competition. He was appointed music director of the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg in 1984, a post he held for 10 years.
Known for his intensely musical interpretations of a wide ranging repertoire and creative programming, Hans Graf is the 15th music director of the Houston Symphony, a post he assumed on Opening Night of the 2001-2002 season (Graf further extended his contract with the Houston Symphony through the 2011-2012 season). Recently, Graf completed tenures as music director of the Calgary Philharmonic and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine. In 2002, he was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre de la L?gion d’Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world. Believing “there is something to learn from musicians and orchestras every day,” Graf is a much sought-after guest conductor in the United States and has led the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, as well as the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, St. Louis, Baltimore and Washington D.C. among many others. He makes his debut with the San Francisco Symphony this season. He has also participated in this country’s prestigious festivals including Blossom, Wolftrap and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Over the past decade he has developed a close relationship with the Boston Symphony and appears regularly with the orchestra both during the subscription season and at the Tanglewood Music Festival. He made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Houston Symphony in January 2006.

Internationally, Graf conducts in the major concert halls of Scandinavia, France, Italy, Japan and Australia. He has appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as well as with the St. Petersburg, Czech and Israel Philharmonics. In addition, he has participated in such prestigious European festivals as the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bregenz, Aix en Provence, Orange and Savonlinna in Finland and appeared at the Salzburg Festival for 12 consecutive seasons. An opera proponent for “its wonderful musical power and sense of human expression,” Graf first conducted the Vienna State Opera in 1981 and has since led productions in the opera houses of Berlin, Munich, Paris and Rome. His extensive opera repertoire includes several world premieres. Graf has recorded for the EMI, Orfeo, Erato, Capriccio and JVC labels. His recent releases include the complete works of Dutileux for BMG Arte Nova and a disc of works by Bart?k and Stravinsky recorded with the Houston Symphony for Koch International. When he isn’t conducting, Graf enjoys literature, fine wine, linguistics (he speaks five languages) and jazz.

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