“Lawrence Foster seems to have been put on this planet to conduct Enescu’s music. He is clearly a true believer and he understands every technical nuance and every expressive twist and turn”.(The Telegraph)
Music Director l’Opéra de Marseille
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Lawrence Foster celebrates his ninth year as Music Director of Opéra de Marseille in the 2022/23 season, as well as his fourth as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Known for his exhilarating and expressive performances in a wide range of music, he enjoys a major career spanning the US, Europe and Asia. As a champion of the music of Enescu, his interpretations are renowned for their faithfulness to the score: “Lawrence Foster seems to have been put on this planet to conduct Enescu’s music. He is clearly a true believer and he understands every technical nuance and every expressive twist and turn” – The Telegraph.
This season, Lawrence Foster is invited to conduct repertoire as diverse as Enescu, Shostakovich, Brahms, Gershwin, Strauss, Beethoven, Bartók, Schumann, with orchestras such as the Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and the The Gulbenkian Orchestra. He also conducts the Orchestre Philharmonic de Marseille and will participate in the Tiroler Festspiele and will conduct two concerts at the Festival International de Piano de la Roque d’Anthéron where he is a regular guest. Major future projects include Rimsky-Korsakov’s Christmas Eve at the Frankfurt Opera, a recording of Verdi’ Rigoletto with Pentatone, and Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande at the George Enescu Festival.
In recent seasons, he conducted Cosi fan tutte, Don Carlo, and Ernani with the Opéra de Marseille. As a guest conductor he returned to Oper Frankfurt for Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and to Opéra de Monte-Carlo for Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. He has conducted in major opera houses around the world, with highlights including Troilus and Cressida at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the North American premiere of Berg’s Lulu at Houston Opera, Enescu’s Oedipe at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the opening performance of the newly created Los Angeles Opera with Plácido Domingo and Sherrill Milnes in Verdi’s Otello.
Following his successful ten-year tenure as Artistic Director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, he now serves as its Conductor Laureate. He toured extensively with the orchestra with such soloists as Lang Lang, Evgeny Kissin and Pinchas Zuckerman. This tenure also included highly acclaimed recordings with Pentatone of Verdi’s Otello and violin works by Bruch, Chausson and Korngold with Arabella Steinbacher. Lawrence Foster has held music directorships with the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Houston Symphony, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and the Aspen Music Festival and School, among others.
He has worked with orchestras including Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic Helsinki Philharmonic and Czech Philharmonic orchestras, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, NHK Symphony and Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini of Parma, among others.
In addition to recordings with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, he has received praise for a number of recent recordings with Pentatone including Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West with Transilvanian Philharmonic, the four Schuman Symphonies with the Czech Philharmonic, the early symphonies of Schubert with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, Strauss’ Zigeunerbaron and Die Fledermaus with NDR Radiophilharmonic, and the Martinů Double Concertos and the Shostakovich Cello Concertos with Polish Radio Orchestra and Marc Coppey with Audite. His recording of Enescu’s Oedipe with José van Dam and Nicolai Gedda with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra (EMI) received multiple high awards. He also accompanied Radu Lupu in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with the London Symphony, one of Lupu’s rare recordings.
Born in Los Angeles to Romanian parents, Foster served as Artistic Director of the George Enescu Festival from 1998 to 2001. In 2003 he was decorated by the Romanian President for services to Romanian Music
HarrisonParrott represents Lawrence Foster for worldwide general management.
“Szmon Nehring and the Polish National Radio Orchestra (…) were helped by the clear authoritative conducting of Lawrence Foster, the orchestra’s new Principal, who – unlike most of the other conductors on the podium here – truly listens to where the soloist is leading. Foster (…) is a conductor who deserves a far more glittering reputation than he has. There are very few of his generation still conducting who have the calm perception that he brings to all his music making.”
“We must salute the magnificent work of Maestro Lawrence Foster [with Orchestre de l’Opéra de Marseille in Mozarts’ The Magic Flute], who left his mark on the musical score. Far from giving in to the current fashion that wants to play fast and strong, the maestro takes advantage of measured tempi that let the orchestra play and find that unity of sound that we notice in each sentence. Shades, phrasing, colours, support of the singers, everything is there in an impeccable style where everything is thought through.”
“Lawrence Foster’s conducting is remarkably balanced and sounds just right. Despite his natural and overall relaxed approach as well as much warmth and refinement, Schubert’s music never loses its rhetoric force in these fine performances.”
“Incorporating his vast knowledge of the intricacies of each piece, Foster never lost control over the massive orchestra; at the same time, his passion for the music was conveyed through the fiery vigor of his conducting. <…> Despite the often-jarring tonal shifts, Foster guided the orchestra’s interpretation of each variation masterfully, effectively communicating each movement’s distinct character.” ‑Joshua Bell wows in Houston Symphony”
“Guest conductor Lawrence Foster easily gained the large audience’s approval with his no-nonsense approach, as he had also done just the previous evening, when he easily led the phenomenal pianist Garrick Ohlsson and the orchestra through a sublime performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto”
“Foster clicked with the musicians of the Residentie Orkest. Having warmed up with “Le chasseur maudit’…Foster knew how to unite the musicians in one heartbeat. The performances of Faure’s ‘Pelleas et Melisande and Debussy’s ‘La mer’ proved that the rich tradition of the Residentie Orkest still is very much alive”
“Lawrence Foster conducts with the strength of those who know how to loosed the leash to let the music live. <…> The conductor intervenes just like a captain navigating amongst skiffs in order to organise this musical flow. It’s beautiful and exhilarating”
“The Orchestere Philharmonique de Marseille under the experiences Lawrence Foster is on splendid form, playing with tight ensemble, verve and colour.”
“It was, however, a real pleasure to hear the score so lovingly conducted by Lawrence Foster, who drew warm French colors from the Orchestre PHilharmonique deRadio France. It was in the pit, rather than on the stage that the magic of Roussel’s work was best realised.”