Ilyich Rivas


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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 in 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.

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“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

Concert Classic

“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

More Reviews

“(…) Ilyich Rivas, not even twenty-five-years old, reminded me of Sergio Celibidache’s way of conducting and extraordinary talent.”

“Rivas’s efficient, quiet, but very airy, clear and unobtrusive authoritative gesture made a splash from the early Debussy’s suite (…)”

“Impressive Debussy was a charming contrast to expressive Beri.”

“(…) the Beethoven had an artistically uncompromising sound quality.”

“(…) his Beethoven was light on his feet, soft, beautifully sustained (gorgeous tenuto). Wonderful was the finale with the transition from the adagio to a rushing allegro.”

Prague Philharmonia – February 2018

“With graceful hand and ease in the run-up, he led a playful orchestra (…) we end up in a peaceful atmosphere with flourishing gauzy motives.”

Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra – November 2017

“It would be easy to report that Ilyich Rivas has a great future, save this concert more than suggested that he’s already having it. […] the Venezuelan led this attractive mix of pieces with confidence, visual enthusiasm and interpretative individuality.” “Overall, this was a reading of fire and seduction.”

London Philharmonic

“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, March 2015 – Rachmaninoff: Inside Out

“Glyndebourne’s own orchestra…provides top quality playing, while the young Venezuelan conductor Ilyich Rivas makes every note of the score tell.”

The Stage, October 2013 – Glyndebourne on Tour: Hansel and Gretel

“[… It] was balanced by a fine feel for texture and a gift for finding nuances in the quieter moments, particularly from solo instruments. […] Rivas revealed in the joy in the music, giving it a pulse and sweep that bordered on playful at times. […] But there’s no arguing with the results, which are impressive. The players evidently thought so too, tapping their batons for Rivas as he took his final bows. He is clearly a talent to watch.”

Bachtrack, January 2014 – Prague Philharmonia

“Twenty-year-old Venezuelan conductor Ilyich Rivas ensures a glorious and moving account of this richly Wagnerian score.”

Daily Mail, October 2013 – Glyndebourne on Tour: Hansel and Gretel

“Rivas is incredibly clear and accurate and shows exactly what he wants and directs huge orchestral forces with much confidence and efficiency. ^[Das Orchester, zumeist gestandene Damen und Herren aus der ersten Garnitur deutscher Orchestermusiker, folgte sehr aufmerksam und nahm die Hinweise des jungen Maestros bereitwillig auf. Ein wunderbar harmonisches Miteinander war das Ergebnis, eine engagiert erzählte Geschichte in Musik, die Gänsehaut verursachte, hervorgerufen durch eine herausragende Spielkultur. Die ermöglichte beispielsweise, dass knapp 50 Streicher so transparent und kammermusikalisch klangen wie ein Streichquartett, ohne auch nur im mindesten an Substanz und Tiefe zu verlieren.]”

Frankfurter Neue Presse, May 2013 – Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

“We now have the phenomenon of Ilyich Rivas, 19 this year and already making a name for himself … On the strength of his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic debut, he is strikingly, almost disconcertingly good … we need to keep our eyes on him.”

The Guardian, May 2012 – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

“Twenty-year-old Ilyich Rivas […] conducts a glowing and warm performance, finding rich Wagnerian echoes in Humperdinck’s wonderfully melodic score. With a maturity way beyond his years he draws glorious playing from the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra.”

What’s on stage, October 2013 – Glyndebourne on Tour: Hansel and Gretel

“Most exciting of all was the conducting of Ilyich Rivas: only 20 years old, he is clearly beguiled by the glowing colours and emotional density of this inexhaustibly beguiling score. Ah, youth!”

The Telegraph, May 2014 – Opera North: La Bohème