Jacomo Rafael Bairos Biography

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After an extensive 2-year search that accumulated over 200 applicants from 15 countries around the world, Portuguese American Jacomo Rafael Bairos became the 17th Music Director for the Amarillo Symphony beginning July of 2013. Described as “expressive and passionate” [Malaysian Straits Times], and lauded by the Leipziger Volkszeitung as an “impressive conductor… who is elegantly demanding”, Mr. Bairos enjoys an emerging career as an imaginative and inclusive conductor, dedicated collaborator and educator, and ardent champion of living American composers. 

Beyond his duties as Music Director for the Amarillo Symphony this season, Mr. Bairos returns to the Atlanta and Charlotte Symphony Orchestras, as well as makes debuts with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra. 

Next season, Mr. Bairos will return for subscription debuts with both the Atlanta and Charleston Symphony Orchestra where he collaborates with Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year, Jeremy Denk. Further afield in 2014/15, Mr. Bairos has debuts with the Louisiana Philharmonic and returns to the Florida Orchestra for several diverse programs including working with singer-song writer, Ben Folds. Mr. Bairos will make his South American debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica Provincial of Santa Fe Argentina, and will have subscription debuts with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Bairos’ diverse artist collaborations in recent seasons include working with famed American pianist Garrick Ohlsen, critically acclaimed guitarist Miloś Karadaglić, violinists Shlomo Mintz, platinum selling artist Ben Folds, GRAMMY-Nominated Tiempo Libre, and the eclectic cross-over group ProjectTrio.

Previous engagements with eminent orchestras around the world include the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta National do Porto (ONP, Portugal) as well as the Singapore, Iceland, Leipzig (Germany), Jacksonville, North Carolina, Tallahassee and Bangor Symphony Orchestras. Mr. Bairos has rapidly garnered praise with the Amarillo Symphony for his fresh and inventive programing, community driven collaborations and initiatives, as well as his commissioning and performance of living composers. His adventurous collaborations with actors and graphic artists, as well as his use of technology to enhance and bring more excitement to the concert experience, has helped transform the Amarillo Symphony into a vehicle for community collaborations. A committed educator, Mr. Bairos and the Amarillo Symphony have introduced “Class Act”, which passionately presents music, classes, performances and lectures to local area schools. Along with regularly coaching the Amarillo Youth Orchestras, Mr. Bairos has crafted programs and concerts for youth that have enriched thousands of kids across the Carolinas, Missouri, Texas and in his native Portugal. In 2010, he was the Music Director for the National Youth Orchestra Festival of Portugal and previously worked with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “OrchKids” program to create hands-on educational workshops for children in underserved urban communities.

During his tenure as Associate and Guest Conductor for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2014, Mr. Bairos reached thousands of enthusiastic listeners through the broad spectrum of concerts he programmed and conducted, including the innovative Knight Sounds and heralded Pops series. Mr. Bairos performed and premiered new music on every series he conducted, including reinventing famous classics by employing modern twists on his Family, Education, Outreach and Parks concerts. Met with critical acclaim from Fanfare Magazine, his debut recording in 2009 of Raw Emotions with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra featured concertos by living North American composers. 

His conducting mentors include esteemed teacher of conductors Gustav Meier, as well as Robert Spano and Kurt Masur. Awarded the prestigious and highly selective Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship by the U.S. Mendelsohn Foundation and Maestro Kurt Masur in 2012, he traveled to Germany to conduct concerts with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, assist at the Gewandhaus Orchestra and further his studies and mentorship with Maestro Masur. A 2010 and 2012 student of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, he has also worked closely with Marin Alsop, Jorma Panula, Hugh Wolff and Larry Ratcleff. 

An accomplished and award winning-tubist, Mr. Bairos has given master classes and performed with festivals and orchestras around the world. New York Magazine praised his solo performances in the Juilliard Focus Festival of 1998 as one of the “instrumental highs of the festival”, and at age 18 he was the first tubist in the history of the Aspen Music Festival to win the festival-wide concerto competition. 

He has performed, toured and recorded with the New York Philharmonic in addition to the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati and Seattle. Mr. Bairos has held principal posts with orchestras in America, Spain, China and most recently was principal tuba for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2007.