Venezuelan-born American conductor Ilyich Rivas made his professional debut at the age of 16 in front of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and has subsequently made successful debuts with a number of important orchestras in Europe and the US, including the London Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia.
Ilyich Rivas worked as Assistant Conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, culminating in his official debut in their subscription series at the Royal Festival Hall. He was also awarded the two-year position of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Peabody Institute Conducting Fellow, studying conducting at the Peabody Conservatory under the guidance of legendary pedagogue Gustav Meier, and working closely with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, again including subscription concerts. He was invited by Michael Tilson Thomas to conduct the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, and has additionally gained significant experience with young players and student ensembles, having conducted the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the orchestras of London’s Royal College of Music and the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and the Youth Orchestra of Bahia, Brazil.
Highlights of recent seasons include his debuts with the Orchestre National de Lyon, Auckland Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Poznan Philharmonic, Norrkoping Symphony, Uppsala Symphony, Brno Philharmonic, Cameristi della Scala and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, as well as performances at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival with the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover. Recent seasons have seen him debut with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at London’s Hampton Court Palace, conduct a series of festive performances with the Brucknerorchester Linz, and make his debut with the Ulster Orchestra in two BBC Radio 3 Invitation concerts. He also made significant debuts in the subscription series of the Tonkuenstler Orchestra of Vienna, and the Minnesota Orchestra. Other engagments include his debut with the Charlotte Symphony and Uppsala Chamber Orchestra and return visits to the Prague Philharmonia and Janacek Philharmonic of Ostrava.
Ilyich Rivas has also developed a notable expertise as an operatic conductor. Following a three-year mentoring programme under conductor Vladimir Jurowski at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, he was invited to conduct full productions for Glyndebourne on Tour of Le nozze di Figaro and Hänsel und Gretel in consecutive seasons. He made an impressive debut with the UK’s Opera North conducting performances of La Boheme, and recently debuted with the Netherlands Reisopera in a country-wide touring production of La Traviata.
Ilyich Rivas comes from a distinguished musical family and studied conducting from an early age with his father Alejandro Rivas, an orchestral conductor himself, who continues to be his principal guide and mentor. Ilyich has been awarded the Bruno Walter Conducting Prize and the Prix Julius Baer in Switzerland, given by the Verbier Festival to a musician of exceptional talent.
“A successful first Parisian concert for this very young maestro… what a beautiful musicality, what a knowledge of the score, showing how attentive to every detail, to every desk this artist is…. Obviously, all the members of an Ondif in great shape enjoy this lively, intense and intelligent reading which legitimately convinces the audience.” [translated from French]Alain Cochard
“At the helm of the OSPA was the Venezuelan-American Ilyich Rivas, who already from the Vespri Siciliani Overture showed clearly his skills at guiding the orchestra, bringing it from the softest piano to the sturdiest forte through purposeful, well-shaped crescendos, contrasting Verdi’s most lyrical moments with those more impetuous ones. […] Rivas’s conducting was passionate and energetic, but also of great effectiveness, with a special emphasis on tempo changes and rhythm through which he succeeded in skilfully driving the OSPA […] in perfect ensemble.”Jonathan Mallada La Nueva España
“Under the direction of the exceptionally talented young Venezuelan-American guest conductor Ilyich Rivas, the Ulster Orchestra was equal to every demand of this most exacting work.”Alf McCreary Belfast Telegraph
“I see a great future for this young conductor. The LPO responded to his direction which is clear and unaffected and played outstandingly well.”Classical Source
“Glyndebourne’s own orchestra…provides top quality playing, while the young Venezuelan conductor Ilyich Rivas makes every note of the score tell.”The Stage