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Musical World

Lawrence Foster

  • Conductor


Lawrence Foster recent North American appearances have included performances with the Houston Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony, New World Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and Detroit Symphony Orchestra, as well as a production of "La Bohème" with the Los Angeles Opera in the 2004-05 season. Abroad, he recently conducted the Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the NHK Symphony in Tokyo, among other projects.

A prolific opera conductor, Mr. Foster has conducted in many of the world's most renowned houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opera Comique and Bastille in Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Los Angeles Opera. Following the inauguration of the latter in 1986, where he conducted "Otello" with Placido Domingo in the title role, he has also conducted "Faust," "The Fiery Angel," "The Magic Flute," "The Marriage of Figaro," "Falstaff," "Don Giovanni," "Samson et Dalila" and an especially acclaimed "Elektra." In the 2002/03 season, he conducted a highly acclaimed concert performance of Enescu's "Oedipe" at the Liceu with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.

Recent opera engagements have included a critically acclaimed production of Roussel's Padmavati at the Théâtre du Châtelet with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio, a debut with the Leipzig Oper in a production of Strauss's Ariadne Auf Naxos, a production of Debussy's unfinished opera, "The Fall of the House of Usher", completed by Robert Orledge with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Bregenz Festival, "La Boheme" with Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin as well as "Ariadne" with Opera de Monte Carlo.  In the current season, he leads a production of Reyer's Salammbo with Opera de Marseille and returns to Hamburg Staatsoper for a revival of "Pélléas et Mélisande."

Mr. Foster has worked with a number of major youth orchestras. In summer 2004, he brought the Australian Youth Orchestra to the BBC Proms and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and took the orchestra on a similar tour in July 2007. He will be touring with Junge Deutsche Philharmonie in spring 2009 and will also conduct the Academy Orchestra at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival with Evgeny Kissin in August 2008.

Mr. Foster's discography includes a major recording of Enescu's "Oedipe," with Jose Van Dam and Barbara Hendricks. This EMI release has earned special praise from critics throughout the world as well as the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque from the Academie Charles Cros.  Mr. Foster has also recorded for the CBS, Philips, Decca, Koch and Ariola labels. His credits include the first recording of Walton's "Troilus and Cressida" with Dame Janet Baker; "A Christmas Concert: Jessye Norman at Notre Dame" with the opera orchestra of Lyon; a recording of operetta arias with Barbara Hendricks and the Philharmonia. In 2005, to celebrate the Enescu anniversary, EMI released a boxed set of works by Enescu recorded by Mr. Foster and various orchestras, which included Symphony No. 3 and Vox Maris with Orchestre National de Lyon.

Born in Los Angeles in 1941 to Romanian parents, Mr. Foster wanted to become a conductor at a young age. Guided by such celebrated musicians as Karl Böhm and Bruno Walter, he made his professional debut at the age of eighteen with a newly formed orchestra of young musicians in Los Angeles and later served as its Music Director. At the same time, he became conductor of the San Francisco Ballet, a post he held until 1965. From l965 to l968, Mr. Foster was the Assistant Conductor to Zubin Mehta with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1969 was named Chief Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In January 2003, Mr. Foster was decorated by the Romanian President for services to Romanian Music.