“Bairos worked to distinguish each one (Variations on a Theme by Haydn), emphasizing Brahms' syncopations, juxtaposed meters and lush harmonies. He elicited terrific dynamic contrasts from the players that heightened the effect.”
Described as “expressive and passionate” (Malaysian Straits Times) and lauded by the Leipziger Volkszeitung as an “impressive conductor… who is elegantly demanding,” Portuguese-American Jacomo Rafael Bairos enjoys an emerging career as an inclusive and imaginative conductor, ardent champion of living composers, and dedicated collaborator and educator.
After an extensive two-year search involving more than 200 applicants from around the world, in 2013 Bairos became the Amarillo Symphony’s 17th Music Director and Conductor. He has garnered quick praise for his fresh and inventive programming, community-driven initiatives, and for establishing the first-ever Composer-in-Residence with young American Chris Rogerson. His adventurous collaborations with a wide range of local artists have helped transform the Amarillo Symphony into a vehicle for community partnerships.
In 2014, Bairos along with composer Sam Hyken, co-founded Nu Deco Ensemble, a virtuosic and eclectic chamber orchestra designed for the 21st Century. With residency at Miami’s Light Box Theater, Bairos and Hyken as Co-Artistic Directors oversee the mission of executing exciting and adventurous classical music performances. While presenting various styles of music, art, and media collaborations in both traditional and alternative concert venues, Nu Deco Ensemble aims to be a catalyst for arts education and culture througout the communtiy.
In high demand as a guest conductor across the United States and abroad, a sample of 2014/15 subcription performances include the Atlanta, Alabama and Charleston Symphony Orchestras. Annually conducting some of America’s finest ensembles, including the Florida Orchestra as well as the Atlanta, Charlotte, and Charleston Symphony's, Bairos has additionally appeared with the St. Louis, North Carolina, and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to name a few.
Internationally, he has conducted the Iceland, Singapore, and Leipzig Symphony Orchestras as well as the Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra and return engagments with the Orquesta National do Porto, Portugal. In 2014/15 Bairos makes Latin American debuts with the Orquesta Sinfónica Provincial of Santa Fe Argentina and the Orquesta Sinfónica Universidad de Guanajuato of Mexico. In addition, his 2009 debut recording of Raw Emotions with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra—which featured concertos by living North American composers—was met with critical acclaim from Fanfare Magazine.
This seasons artist collaborations include MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient Jeremy Denk, internationally acclaimed guitarist Milos Karadagli, famed American pianist Garrick Ohlsson, the eclectic cross-over group Project Trio, as well as multi-platinum selling singer-song-writer, Ben Folds.
From 2010-2013 Bairos was Associate Conductor for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and reached thousands of enthusiastic listeners through the broad spectrum of concerts he programmed and conducted, to include the innovative KnightSounds and heralded Pops series. Bairos premiered new music on every series he conducted and reinvented famous classics by employing modern twists on his family, education, outreach, and parks concerts.
A committed educator, Bairos and the Amarillo Symphony have introduced Class Act, which passionately presents music, lessons, and lectures to schools across the Texas panhandle. Along with regularly coaching and conducting the Amarillo Youth Orchestras, Bairos has crafted orchestral programs and concerts that have enriched the lives of thousands of children across the Carolinas, Missouri, Texas, and in his native Portugal. Bairos was the Music Director for the National Youth Orchestra Festival of Portugal in 2010 and previously worked with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program to create hands-on educational workshops for children in underserved urban communities.
His conducting mentors include esteemed teacher of conductors Gustav Meier, as well as Robert Spano and Kurt Masur. After participating in the 2012 Kurt Masur Conductors Seminar in New York City—where he shared the podium with Maestro Masur in concert—Bairos was awarded the prestigious and highly selective Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship by the US Mendelssohn Foundation and Maestro Masur. Bairos subsequently traveled to Germany to conduct concerts with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, assist at the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and further his studies and mentorship with Maestro Masur. A graduate of both the Peabody Conservatory’s Orchestral Conducting program and the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, Bairos has also worked with Marin Alsop, Jorma Panula, Hugh Wolff, and Larry Ratcleff.
As an accomplished and award-winning tubist, Bairos has given master classes and performed with festivals and orchestras around the world. New York Magazine praised his solo performances in the Juilliard Focus Festival of 1998 as one of the “instrumental highs of the festival". At age 18, he was the first tubist in the history of the Aspen Music Festival to win the festival-wide concerto competition. Bairos has performed, toured, and recorded with the New York Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, and Seattle. He has held principal posts with orchestras in America, Spain, and China and most recently was principal Tuba for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2007.