American conductor of Hong Kong origin Perry So has been appointed as the new Musical and Artistic Director of the Navarra Symphony Orchestra, a position in which he succeeds Manuel Hernández-Silva. With an initial three-year contract, which will be effective from September 1, 2022, maestro Perry So has been the orchestra’s favorite in the polls. According to the statement from the orchestra itself, the choice of Maestro So has been the product of a rigorous participatory process that has lasted for several months. It began last year with a first phase of consultations and proposals submitted for consideration by the Orchestra, after whose decision the Board of Trustees of Fundación Baluarte proceeded to approve the candidacy… in the choice of maestro So “other criteria have also weighed in addition to his talent as a director, such as his wide and varied curriculum, his international projection and his artistic concerns”.
Conductor Perry So was born in Hong Kong in 1982, where he received early musical training in piano, organ, violin, viola, and composition. He later earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University with a specialization in 20th-century Central European music and literature. During that period he founded an academic orchestra and conducted lyrical productions with the graduates. In 2008 he studied conducting at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore under the tutelage of Maestro Gustav Meier, receiving the First Prize and the Special Prize at the 5th Edition of the St. Petersburg Prokofiev International Conducting Competition. After this recognition he was appointed Assistant Director and then Associate Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and later he will be invited to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra.
Having already consolidated his presence on five continents, Perry So has recently debuted with the San Francisco Symphony and has occupied the pits of the Royal Danish Opera -The Magic Flute- and the Yale Opera -Eugene Onegin- as opera director. Among the latest milestones in his career, three important tours stand out: a tour of Milan conducting the Nuremberg Symphony, another through the Balkans in 2013 with the Zagreb Philharmonic, and a third seven-week tour of South Africa conducting three orchestras in which he performed Verdi’s Requiem in the framework of the South African National Arts Festival.
Besides these projects and invitations, Perry So has conducted more than 30 orchestras around the world, including the San Francisco Symphony, the National Orchestra of Wales, the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, the New Zealand Symphony, the Shanghai Symphony, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague or the London Philharmonic, as well as half a dozen Spanish orchestras. He has also served as assistant to such renowned teachers as Edo de Waart, Esa Pekka-Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel and John Adams.
Perry So is a member of the Music Conducting faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and also has a large body of recordings to his credit leading the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Concert Orchestra, repeatedly earning recognition from the criticism and being laureate in 2021 with the Diapason d’Or.