A versatile conductor recognized for his innovative programming, André Raphel has established a reputation as a thoughtful and compelling interpreter. Currently in his thirteenth season as Music Director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, he has led the Orchestra in acclaimed festivals, world premieres and commissioned works. Highlights of his 2015-16 season include the co-commission of Kenneth Fuchs' Piano Concerto featuring Jeffrey Biegel, A French Festival focusing on the music of Berlioz and Fauré, and a celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Sibelius' birth with the orchestra's first performance of Sibelius' Symphony No. 7.
Mr. Raphel enjoys a busy career as guest conductor. During the 2015-16 season, he leads performances in Los Angeles at the gala opening of The Broad museum. He also appears with the Toledo Symphony, Stockton Symphony and Westmoreland Symphony. In 2014, he returned to The Philadelphia Orchestra to conduct the world premiere of Uri Caine's Passion of Octavius Catto. He has led the Bamberg Symphony in two recordings for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Mr. Raphel has appeared with most of the major American orchestras including Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
André Raphel made his European debut with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, and has also led the Moravska Philharmonie. In the U.S. he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Seattle, the National Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra among others. He made his Carnegie Hall debut leading Robert Shaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a concert celebrating the centennial of legendary mezzo-soprano Marian Anderson. Mr. Raphel’s international engagements have further included appearances with the Auckland Philharmonia, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Columbia and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica.
A guest conductor at major music festivals, Mr. Raphel has led programs at the Blossom Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center. He has also appeared at the Mann Center, Grant Park Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Kennedy Center Summer Music Institute, Brevard Music Festival, and the Campos do Jordao Festival in Brazil.
André Raphel served as an Assistant Conductor to Kurt Masur at the New York Philharmonic for two years. He was Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra for six years, where he worked closely with Wolfgang Sawallisch. Prior to his appointment in Philadelphia, Mr. Raphel served for three years as Assistant Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony where he worked with Leonard Slatkin.
Mr. Raphel is an advocate for audience development and education. In 2010, he launched a highly successful College Series with the Wheeling Symphony. During his tenure with the Saint Louis Symphony, he served as Music Director of the orchestra’s “In Unison” program, a partnership between the orchestra and local churches. Raphel’s commitment to education is reflected in his work at leading conservatories and training programs. He has led the Juilliard Orchestra, New World Symphony, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and Temple University Orchestra.
Born André Raphel Smith in Durham, North Carolina he began formal music lessons at age 11. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami, and pursued further study at Yale University where he earned his Master’s Degree. While at Yale, he began conducting studies with Otto-Werner Mueller. He continued studies with Mueller at The Curtis Institute of Music earning a Diploma in conducting and at The Juilliard School, where he was awarded the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and received an Advanced Certificate in orchestral conducting.
Mr. Raphel is the recipient of numerous honors and awards which attest to his artistry. In 2012, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Miami. The Philadelphia Orchestra issued a special commemorative CD featuring William Grant Still’s Symphony No.1 with Mr. Raphel conducting. He received the Distinguished Service Award from Yale University. Mr. Raphel is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from West Liberty University. He has received Honorary Commendations from the cities of Philadelphia and Saint Louis. The North Carolina Senate awarded Mr. Raphel the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine.” The award, presented annually is the state’s highest honor for a civilian.
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Last updated December 2015.