André Raphel André Raphel

"The music's rhythm had an irresistible momentum."

The Washington Post



January Notes

It has been a long time since I've written here, but given these most challenging times it seemed a good idea to share a few thoughts. These times are of course like no other. The pandemic has affected us all in ways large and small. The holiday season fortunately provided a bit of needed distraction.

As a conductor, this season of pandemic has helped me to re-discover the power of music to unite people. Each rehearsal and concert means more. When we come together to make music, the moments together seem all the more poignant. As 2022 begins, there are promising highlights on the calendar. The fall was understandably filled with lots of Beethoven and Mozart- two composers whose music I treasure. I'm particularly looking forward to a program in March which will feature Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5, a work which is about overcoming a series of struggles that rage within the soul. It seems apt to once again explore this inspiring music, given the times in which we live.

We will get through this and continue to overcome. Stay safe. Wishing you all the best for a great new year! AR


Uri Caine's Passion- BBC Music Magazine Review

Reviews for the recording of Uri Caine's Passion of Octavius Catto praise Raphel's work. The BBC Music Magazine writes, "Held together with admirably crisp direction from conductor André Raphel, this is a soul-stirring recording of a bold and timely work." Four Stars!

A great review also from The Arts Fuse magazine in Boston. Read the full review at the link:





Inspired Voices and the Human Spirit

"Inspired Voices and the Human Spirit" is the thematic focus of a program with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra in March. Orli Shaham, piano will be the soloist.

The March 10, 2022 concert features Jennifer Higdon's gorgeous work Blue Cathedral, which imagines a journey through a glass cathedral in the sky. Also on the program Shostakovich's powerful Symphony No. 5. With the symphony's internal struggle and Shostakovich's keen sense of irony, it makes for an incredible statement about the composer's strength in the face of adversity.

Higdon: Blue Cathedral
Schumann: Piano Concerto in a minor
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5


George Walker- 100th Anniversary

André Raphel conducts George Walker's seminal work, Lyric for Strings. 2022 marks the centennial of the composer's birth. #GeorgeWalker100

In these challenging times of the pandemic, Walker's gorgeous work helps provides a bit of solace. The video with the Detroit Symphony is available for viewing at the link below:



NY Premiere and Jewish Musical Influence

André Raphel conducts works by Korngold, Danielpour, Dorman and Mendelssohn with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. The program features the NY premiere of Avner Dorman's Nigunim- Violin Concerto No. 2. Lara St. John, violin will be soloist.

"Themes and Variations" highlights works by Jewish composers written during three centuries. The May 14, 2022 concert includes Richard Danielpour's Adagietto for String Orchestra, a work for which Raphel also conducted the world premiere. The program closes with Mendelssohn's sparkling Symphony No. 4 "Italian"

Korngold: Theme and Variations, op. 42
Danielpour: Adagietto for String Orchestra
Dorman: Nigunim- Violin Concerto No. 2
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 "Italian"


Celebrating the Music of William Grant Still

William Grant Still was a pioneering figure in American music. André conducts Still's Stmphony No. 1 (Afro-American.) This video performance with the Detroit Symphony is available through DSO Replay at the link: livefromorchestrahall


Album- The Passion of Octavius Catto

Listen to the album of Uri Caine's work The Passion of Octavius Catto. André Raphel teamed up with the jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine for the recording of this powerful work. The work focuses on Catto, an important figure in American History who lived during the 1800's. Catto was an orator, civil and voting rights activist, educator and a baseball player in the early Negro League. Combining classical, jazz, gospel, pop and patriotic styles, the work tells the story of Catto's life.

The recording on the 816 Music label features Barbara Walker, vocalist, Uri Caine Trio, Nedra Neal Singers, Philadelphia Choral Ensemble and the Catto Freedom Orchestra with André Raphel conducting. Hear it on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and CD Baby!

Pictured below following the recording sessions: André, Barbara Walker, vocalist, Uri Caine, composer and pianist, and Joyce Hammann, Concertmaster.


André Raphel with Barbara Walker, Uri Caine and Joyce



Music of Coleridge- Taylor in Boston

André Raphel makes his subscription series debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in concerts on March 19, 20 and 21, 2020. Update: These concerts have been cancelled due to concerns regarding COVID-19. The program will feature works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and William Grant Still.

Uri Caine's powerful oratorio The Passion of Octavius Catto is also featured. Barbara Walker is the vocal soloist with the Uri Caine Trio, and The Catto Chorus made up of members from the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and church choirs from the Boston area.

Coleridge-Taylor: Petite Suite de Concert
Still: Symphony No. 1 (Afro-American)
Caine: The Passion of Octavius Catto
Barbara Walker, vocalist
Uri Caine Trio; Uri Caine, piano, Mike Boone, bass, Clarence Penn, drums
The Catto Chorus

The March 20th concert is part of the Boston Symphony's Casual Friday series. Further information at the link:


Star Wars!

John Williams' great film music is at the heart of this program with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. André will conduct "The Music of Star Wars" for this concert on November 9th.

This Pops concert at the Michigan Theater features Williams' epic film scores. It's sure to be a fun evening with the A2SO. Sold-Out concert!


Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

André led the San Antonio Symphony in Pops performances of STAR WARS live film with orchestra. Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert featured the original 1977 film shown as the orchestra played John Williams' iconic film score.

Read the review from the San Antonio Express-News at the link: Star Wars A New Hope


A Night of Gershwin

André Raphel returned to the Mann Center to conduct The Philadelphia Orchestra in an All-Gershwin program. A Night of Gershwin featured Cuban Overture and Concerto in F with Micah McLaurin, piano.

Gershwin: Cuban Overture
Gershwin: Concerto in F
Gershwin/arr. Bennett: Porgy and Bess, A Symphonic Picture
Gershwin: An American in Paris


Raphel Named Conductor Laureate

In news recently announced, André Raphel has been named Conductor Laureate of the Wheeling Symphony. The appointment beginning with the 18/19 season recognizes Raphel's distinguished fifteen year tenure as Music Director.

Read more about the announcement at the link in this article from Broadway World conductorlaureate


Two of a Kind in Mobile

On February 24 and 25, André Raphel conducts the Mobile Symphony Orchestra (AL) in "Two of a Kind." The program features works by Elgar and Haydn.

Zuill Bailey will be featured as soloist playing the Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major. The concerts open with Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Excerpts.

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Excerpts
Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major
Zuill, Bailey, cello
Elgar: Enigma Variations

Collaborating with Zuill Bailey


A debut in Buffalo

André Raphel appeared with the Buffalo Philharmonic making his debut in concerts on December 2 and 3, 2017. Critical acclaim followed for the performances.

The Buffalo News wrote: "He and the orchestra treated that Ravel with panache and technical precision. The dance rhythms sparkled and every note was right where it should be." Here's a link to the complete review:

Review from Bachtrack for French Festival program

André led a French Festival program with the Wheeling Symphony which included works by Chabrier, Fauré and Berlioz. Also featured Kenneth Fuchs' new Piano Concerto "Spiritualist."

Of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, the Bachtrack review noted "the music was terrifically exciting even as Raphel exerted perfect control over the proceedings." Read the complete review at the following link:


André featured on commemorative CD with The Philadelphia Orchestra
Honoring the Dream
William Grant Still (1895-1978)
from Symphony No. 1 (Afro-American):

I. Moderato assai
IV. Lento, con risoluzione

André Raphel Conductor


View a PDF of Festivals & World Premieres featuring André Raphel