Hans Graf, Music Director
<<< Back to Conductors
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 and his recent and upcoming guest engagements include appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the San Francisco, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Atlanta and National symphonies and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others. Over the past decade he has developed a close relationship with the Boston Symphony and appears regularly with the orchestra during the subscription season and at the Tanglewood Music Festival. 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 have been invited to appear at Carnegie Hall once again in January 2010.
Internationally, Hans Graf conducts in the foremost concert halls of Europe, Japan and Australia and has appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as well as with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. 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 twelve consecutive seasons.
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 for 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 B√∂hm Competition.
Hans Graf's discography includes the complete symphonies of Mozart and Schubert and the premiere recording of Zemlinsky's opera /Es war einmal/. He has recorded for the EMI, Orfeo, CBC, Erato, Capriccio and JVC labels and recent releases include the complete works of Dutilleux for BMG Arte Nova and with the Houston Symphony, works by Bartok and Stravinsky for Koch International and Zemlinsky‚Äôs Lyric Symphony for Naxos.
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.
When he isn’t conducting, Graf enjoys literature, fine wine, linguistics (he speaks five languages) and jazz. He and his wife, Margarita, have homes in Salzburg and Houston. They have one daughter, Anna, who lives in Vienna.