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.
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.
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. 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.
Graf’s recent and upcoming international appearances include the Vienna and London Philharmonics, 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.
He 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.
An experienced opera conductor, 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.
Born in 1949, he studied violin and piano as a child and 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. 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.
Graf’s 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 and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for Naxos; and a DVD of The Planets – An HD Odyssey, available through the Houston Symphony.
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.