American conductor LAWRENCE FOSTER has garnered widespread acclaim, particularly with European audiences. He became Music Director of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and National Orchestra of Catalunya at the start of the 1996/97 season. Formerly Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he has also served in recent years as Music Director of the Monte Carlo Philharmonic and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and as Principal Conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.
Foster maintains a very active conducting schedule, appearing regularly at the Hollywood Bowl, Aspen and the Ravinia Festivals, among others. In North America, Foster is a frequent guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Montreal, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Houston Symphony Orchestras (He was Music Director of the Houston Symphony from 1972 to 1978). Foster also leads many European orchestras, including those of Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Israel, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, and Zurich, as well as the principal orchestras of Asia and the Pacific.
Foster works frequently in the opera house, and is a regular guest conductor at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. Foster inaugurated the Los Angeles Opera in October 1986 with Plácido Domingo in Otello. Now a regular conductor with that company, he has led numerous productions including La bohème, Faust, The Fiery Angel, The Marriage of Figaro, Falstaff, Don Giovanni and an especially acclaimed Elektra. Foster’s 1999/2000 schedule includes the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Samson et Dalila with Domingo, two weeks in Australia for concerts with the Sydney Symphony, and guest-conducting engagments with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.
Born in Los Angeles in 1941 to Romanian parents, Foster was guided by such celebrated musicians as Karl Böhm and Bruno Walter, and made his professional debut at the age of 18 with a newly formed orchestra of young musicians, the Debut Orchestra, subsequently becoming its Music Director. (In June, Foster will conduct that ensemble at the Hollywood Bowl in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.) In this same period, he also became the conductor of the San Francisco Ballet, a post he held until 1965. From 1965 to 1968, Foster was the Assistant Conductor to Zubin Mehta with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in 1969 was named Chief Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.