Pacific Symphony logo

Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Marketing & Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair accepts appointment as music director of Costa Rica's National Symphony Orchestra

Orange County, Calif. — September 13, 2013

Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair, who celebrates his 25th anniversary with the orchestra in 2014-15, has accepted a one-year appointment as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica (NSO), beginning in 2014. This position is in addition to his commitment to Pacific Symphony. The appointment was made by the National Music Centre of the Ministry of Culture and Youth of Costa Rica (CNM) after an arduous selection process that began in July 2011. St.Clair has served as guest conductor for the NSO on three occasions during the past three years, achieving a great relationship with the musicians and leaving a positive impression on the public, according to the NSO. St.Clair is scheduled to conduct six concerts for the NSO's official season, and is also considering special concerts and tours throughout the country. Much like his work with Pacific Symphony, St.Clair is furthering his commitment to education by also establishing a conductor mentorship and master class program with the National Music Centre.

"Recognized and sought after by classical and opera orchestras worldwide, Carl St.Clair is considered one of the most brilliant directors of our time. The orchestra should feel very lucky to have this new music director, who will bring extraordinary skill to the orchestra, which will be reflected in the presentations," said Guillermo Salas Madriz, CEO of CNM.

"I have enjoyed a growing relationship with the National Symphony. They are a wonderful orchestra, and I admire how passionately committed they are to their mission of engaging their nation in this great art form," said St.Clair. "Through my time with the organization, I hope to advance the development of young conductors through a new training program, guide and cultivate young or emerging Costa Rican composers and bring music to regions of the country that have not been exposed to orchestral music. In many ways, I feel that my experiences with Pacific Symphony mirror my aspirations for the National Symphony."

During his tenure with Pacific Symphony, St.Clair has become widely recognized for his musically distinguished performances, his commitment to building outstanding educational programs and his innovative approaches to programming. A strong advocate of music education for all ages, he has been essential to the creation and implementation of programs including Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles, OC Can You Play With Us, arts-X-press and Class Act.

"I think this is a great opportunity for Carl to serve as an ambassador to yet another country and region, bringing his unique talents to the National Symphony of Costa Rica," said Pacific Symphony President John Forsyte. "We are excited that he is adding this post while remaining committed to Pacific Symphony for years to come. Perhaps some cultural exchanges with Costa Rica will emerge, and we are delighted that our new assistant conductor, Alejandro Gutiérrez, is a native of Costa Rica, which furthers the potential for partnership."

From 2008 to 2010, St.Clair was general music director for the Komische Oper in Berlin. He also served as general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle (GNTS) in Weimar, Germany, where he led Wagner's "Ring Cycle" to critical acclaim. He was the first non-European to hold his position at the GNTS; the role also gave him the distinction of simultaneously leading one of the newest orchestras in America and one of the oldest in Europe.

"On behalf of the board of directors, we congratulate Carl on his new post while he remains fully committed here in Orange County," said Michael Kerr, chairman of Pacific Symphony's board of directors. "We have always been supportive of Carl's international career, as it brings honor to Pacific Symphony and enriches Carl's artistic interests, which comes back to strengthen our organization."

St.Clair's international career has him conducting abroad several months a year, and he has appeared with orchestras throughout the world. He was the principal guest conductor of the Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart from 1998 to 2004, where he completed a three–year recording project of the Villa–Lobos symphonies. He has also appeared with orchestras in Israel, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South America, and summer festivals worldwide.

In North America, St.Clair has led the Boston Symphony Orchestra, (where he served as assistant conductor for several years), New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver symphonies, among many.