Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) has appointed Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra as its first ever music director. She will combine the roles of chief conductor, artistic director and community arts leader.
‘This appointment is a major turning point for the QSO as the first Orchestra in the country to appoint a music director,’ said QSO CEO Sophie Galaise. ‘[It’s] something done by the great orchestras on the world stage, but not seen before in Australia.’
Parra has caught attention and critical acclaim throughout her career. In 2007 she became the first Mexican woman to conduct in New York City, and Plácido Domingo described her as ‘an extraordinary conductor.’ She has conducted Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, RSB Berlin Radio Symphony along with over 70 other orchestras around the world.
In 2004 Parra founded Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, while her 2010 ablum Mi Alma Mexicana reaching the top 10 on the US Classical Billboard Chart. She was recently selected as a Patron of the Arts 2015 by the Cultural Foundation of Montblanc.
Earlier this year Parra led this QSO in a programme of Latin American music, which received a standing ovation. Her career as music director designate begins with Mahler’s Symphony No.2 on 27 February 2016 at QPAC Concert Hall. She has signed an initial three-year contract, which commences in 2017.
‘The QSO is an innovative arts company, with a great vibrancy and truly outstanding musicality,’ said Parra. ‘I am truly excited to take on this new role and return to Queensland…I know that all the ingredients are there for us to build an exciting future together and that we will do.’
QSO has seen significant revenue increases in the last few years, and now reaches more than 1.1m people per annum, with recent works like Journey Through the Cosmos with Professor Brian Cox garnering critical acclaim.