Perry So returns to the podium of the Navarra Symphony, of which he is the Music and Artistic Director since this season, to conduct a program that includes Bach’s Ricercare a 6, arranged by Anton Webern; Teoton, concerto for sheng and orchestra by Jukka Tiensuu (1948), performed by Wu Wei, the world’s most renowned performer of this Chinese wind instrument, and Beethoven’s Symphony No 3, Op. 55 Eroica.
Perry So was elected principal and artistic director of the Navarra Symphony Orchestra for a period of three years, from this season until the end of the 2024/25 season. Perry So was born in 1982 in Hong Kong, where he received his early musical training in piano, organ, violin, viola, and composition. He received a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University with a specialization in Central European music and literature of the modernist period, a period in which he founded an academic orchestra and directed the university’s opera company. He studied conducting at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore under the tutelage of Maestro Gustav Meier and in 2008 received the First Prize and the Special Prize at the 5th Edition of the St. Petersburg Prokofiev International Conducting Competition. Following this recognition, he was appointed Assistant Director and then Associate Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Conducting Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and artistic collaborator of the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra, and is also a member of the Conducting Department of Orchestra of the Manhattan School of Music.
Present in concert halls on five continents, Perry So has recently made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony, his operatic debut in Europe was at the Royal Danish Opera with The Magic Flute, and his American debut at the Yale Opera with Eugene Onegin. Some notable performances include a tour of Italy with the Nuremberg Symphony, a seven-week tour of South Africa leading three different orchestras in which he conducted Verdi’s Requiem in Cape Town as part of the South African National Arts Festival, or his return to the podium of the San Francisco Symphony. He has had a long-standing collaboration with the Royal Danish Theater and the Royal Danish Orchestra both in the concert hall and in the opera and ballet pit. He has been a frequent guest at Walt Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and in 2013 toured the Balkan Peninsula leading the Zagreb Philharmonic in the first series of cultural exchanges established after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Other debuts in recent years include appearances with the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, the Navarra, Malaga, Tenerife, Nuremberg, Israel, New Zealand, Houston, Detroit, New Jersey and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, the London Philharmonics, Szezcin, Seoul and China, the Residentie Orkest in The Hague and the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie in Koblenz. His recording studio work covers a wide cross-section of 20th century British, French and Russian music with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Concert Orchestra, and his album of Barber and Korngold Violin Concertos with Alexander Gilman and the Cape Town Philharmonic he received the Diapason d’Or in January 2012. His wide-ranging musical interests include numerous world premieres on four continents, as well as the reintroduction of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire into symphonic programmes, most notably championing the works of Jean-Philippe Rameau. His work with young musicians has taken him to the Australian Youth Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Round Top Festival, the Manhattan School of Music, the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and the Yale School of Music. . Perry, his wife Anna, and his daughter Caroline divide their time between Boston, Saint Paul, where Anna is a professor of history of science at the University of Minnesota, and Pamplona.