After making his debut with the Sinfónica de Baleares in Spain and appearing with the Sinfónica de Navarra, where he is Music and Artistic Director, at the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid within the Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid subscription series, Perry So returns to the US to conduct the Tucson Symphony on February 4 and 5. The program consists of Luigi Dallapiccola’s Piccola Musica Notturna, Schumann’s piano concerto with Michelle Cann as soloist, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, Italiana.
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 concentration in Central European music and literature of the modernist period, during which time he founded an academic orchestra and conducted the university’s opera company. He studied conducting at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore under the tutelage of teacher Gustav Meier and in 2008 he received the First Prize and the Special Prize at the 5th Edition of the Prokofiev International Conducting Competition in St. Petersburg. Following this recognition, he was appointed Assistant Conductor and then Associate Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Conducting Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and artistic collaborator of the Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, and is also a member of the Orchestra Conducting Department of the Manhattan School of Music. Since the 2022/23 season, he is Music and Artistic Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra.
Present in concert halls on five continents, Perry So has recently made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony, his European operatic debut at the Royal Danish Opera with The Magic Flute, and his American debut at the Yale Opera with Eugene Onegin. Outstanding 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 for 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 he toured the Balkans 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, Málaga, Tenerife, Nuremberg, Israel, New Zealand, Houston, Detroit, New Jersey and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, the London, Szezcin, Seoul and China Philharmonics, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague and the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie of Koblenz. His work in the recording studio spans a wide range 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 received the Diapason d’Or in January 2012. His broad musical interests include numerous World premieres on four continents, as well as reintroducing Renaissance and Baroque repertoire into symphony programs, most notably 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 their daughter Caroline divide their time between Boston, Saint Paul, where Anna is Professor of History of Science at the University of Minnesota, and Pamplona.