Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, the distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf is one of today's most highly respected musicians.
Mr. Graf was chosen to be the Music Director of the Houston Symphony in 2000 and began his tenure with the orchestra in September 2001. Prior to his appointment in Houston, he was the music director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He also led the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra from 1984 to 1994.
Hans Graf is a frequent guest with all of the major North American orchestras. His recent and upcoming guest engagements include appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Vancouver, Indianapolis and National symphonies and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others. Mr. Graf made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Houston Symphony in January 2006 and returned to Carnegie leading the Orchestra of St. Luke's in March 2007. He and the Houston Symphony were re-invited to appear at Carnegie Hall in January 2010 at which time they presented the New York premiere of The Planets – An HD Odyssey, featuring exclusive high definition images from NASA's exploration of the solar system accompanied by Holst's famous work, The Planets. Mr. Graf and the Houston Symphony return to Carnegie Hall once again in May 2012 to participate in Carnegie's Spring for Music festival.
Internationally, Hans Graf conducts in the foremost concert halls of Europe, Japan and Asia. Recent and upcoming international appearances include the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as well as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Malaysian Philharmonic. In October 2010, Mr. Graf led the Houston Symphony on a tour of the UK which included performances in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and two performances at the Barbican in London.
Mr. Graf has participated in such prestigious European festivals as the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bregenz and Aix en Provence and appeared at the Salzburg Festival for twelve consecutive seasons. His recent US festival appearances include Tanglewood, Blossom Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival and the Grant Park Music Festival in downtown Chicago.
An experienced opera conductor, Mr. Graf first conducted the Vienna State Opera in 1981 and has since led productions in the opera houses of Berlin, Munich, Paris and Rome among others. His extensive opera repertoire includes several world premieres. Recent opera engagements include Parsifal at the Zurich Opera and Boris Godunov at the Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg.
Born in 1949 near Linz, Hans Graf studied violin and piano as a child. He earned diplomas in piano and conducting from the Musikhochschule in Graz and continued his conducting studies with Franco Ferrara in Siena, Sergiu Celibidache in Bologna and Arvid Jansons in Weimar and Leningrad. Mr. Graf served as the Music Director of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in Baghdad during the 1975-76 season and the following year began coaching at the Vienna State Opera. His international career was launched in 1979 when he was awarded first prize at the Karl Böhm Competition.
Hans Graf has recorded for the EMI, Orfeo, CBC, Erato, Capriccio and JVC labels and his discography includes the complete symphonies of Mozart and Schubert, the premiere recording of Zemlinsky's opera Es war einmal and the complete works of Dutilleux for BMG Arte Nova. His recordings with the Houston Symphony include works by Bartok and Stravinsky for Koch International, Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony, Berg's Three Pieces from the Lyric Suite for Naxos and a DVD of The Planets – An HD Odyssey, available through the Houston Symphony. A new recording of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde for Naxos is to be released in November 2011.
Mr. Graf has been awarded the Chevalier de l'ordre de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world as well as the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria.