American conductor Lawrence Foster is the Music Director of l’Opéra de Marseille, a position that he has held since 2013. Previously, he was the music director of the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona, Orchestre philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, among others. For ten years, Foster was the music director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, which appointed him Conductor Laureate. Foster toured with the Gulbenkian Orchestra across the world, partnering with leading soloists, such as Lang Lang, in Germany, Spain, and Brazil, as well as at major festival destinations.
One of the most sought-after conductors of our time, Foster has been a guest conductor with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini of Parma, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic. He has frequently appeared at major festivals, including the Lucerne and Grafenegg Festivals. Foster holds dear deep and long-standing musical friendships with other outstanding artists, such as Evgeny Kissin, Arcadi Volodos, and Arabella Steinbacher.
In addition to his concert engagements, Foster is an accomplished opera conductor and has appeared with major opera companies throughout the world. His opera productions at the Opéra de Marseille have received the widest critical acclaim, and his regular guest conducting engagements at Frankfurt Opera, Hamburg State Opera, San Francisco Opera, and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, among others, were often enthusiastically reviewed. Foster recently conducted a concert version of Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, which achieved overwhelming success, as did the Traviata that he lead at the famous Savonlinna Opera Festival.
Foster’s discography includes a number of highly acclaimed recordings for Pentatone, notably of violin works with Arabella Steinbacher, as well as of Bartok’s Two Portraits, Ligeti’s Romanian Concerto, Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta and Háry Janos Suite, Schumann’s four symphonies with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Strauss’s Zigeunerbaron with the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover. A critically acclaimed recording of Verdi’s Otello with the Gulbenkian Orchestra was released in 2017.
Born in 1941 in Los Angeles to Romanian parents, Foster has been a major champion of the music of Georg Enescu, serving as Artistic Director of the Georg Enescu Festival from 1998 to 2001. In January 2003, he was decorated by the Romanian President for services to Romanian Music.