After an extensive 2-year search beginning with over 200 applicants from 15 countries around the world, Jacomo Rafael Bairos becomes the 17th Music Director for the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra beginning in the Fall of 2013. Described as “expressive and passionate” [Malaysian Straits Times], and lauded by the Leipziger Volkszeitung as an "impressive conductor.... who is elegantly demanding", Mr. Bairos enjoys an emerging career as an imaginative and inclusive conductor, dedicated educator and ardent champion of new American music.
During his tenure as Associate and Guest Conductor for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2013, Mr. Bairos reached tens of thousands of enthusiastic listeners through the broad spectrum of concerts he programed and conducted. His performances on the innovative Knight Sounds and heralded Pops series garnered consistent praise for not only his adventurous programing, but his collaborations with dancers and visual artists as well as his use of technology to enhance and bring more excitement to the concert experience. Mr. Bairos regularly performed and premiered new music by living composers on every series he conducted in Charlotte, including reinventing famous classics with modern twists on his Family, Education, Outreach and Parks concerts.
Guesting engagements with orchestras in the U.S. and abroad include the Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Iceland, Singapore, Leipzig (Germany), Jacksonville (FL), North Carolina, Charleston (SC), Greater Bridgeport, Tallahassee and Bangor (ME), as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta National do Porto (ONP, Portugal), Lake Forest Symphony, and the Florida Orchestra.
Mr. Bairos has collaborated with an array of distinguished artists such as violinists Shlomo Mintz and Elena Urioste, Latin-Grammy winner, Nestor Torres, the eclectic and versatile cross-over group ProjectTrio, and 3-time Grammy Nominated Cuban Band, Tiempo Libre.
Mr. Bairos’ devotion to the performance of new music is evident through his consistent programing and commissioning of some of America’s brightest and most exciting living composers; to include John Adams, Mason Bates, Adam Schoenberg, Christopher Theofanidis, Michael Daugherty, Paul Dooley and Sam Hyken respectively. Met with critical acclaim from Fanfare Magazine, his debut recording in 2009 of Raw Emotions with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra featured late 20th and 21st century concertos by North American Composers. From 2005-2007 Mr. Bairos was the Artistic Director for the Singapore Symphony's Chamber Music Series where his adventurous programming garnered consistent audience praise and a doubling in attendance during his tenure.
Awarded the prestigious 2012 Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship by the U.S. Mendelsohn Foundation and Maestro Kurt Masur, he traveled to Germany to conduct concerts with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, assist at the Gewandhaus Orchestra and further his studies and mentorship with Mo. Masur.
A committed educator, Mr. Bairos passionately presents music, classes and lectures to area schools and has crafted programs and concerts for youth that have enriched tens of thousands of kids across Texas, the Carolinas and in his native Portugal with the ONP. He was the Music Director for the 2010 National Youth Orchestra Festival of Portugal and is the former Director of Orchestras with the renowned Baltimore School for the Arts where he worked closely with the Baltimore Symphony’s “OrchKids” program creating and implementing education workshops for children in underserved urban communities.
Invited by eminent conducting teacher Gustav Meier to attend the Peabody Conservatory, he also studied with and was Assistant for illustrious faculty members Leon Fleisher and Edward Polochick. Under the tutelage of his close mentor Robert Spano, as well as Larry Rachleff, and Hugh Wolf, Mr. Bairos continued his studies at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen in both 2012 and 2010. He has also worked closely with Marin Alsop at the Peabody Conservatory and the Cabrillo Music Festival in 2011, as well as participating in the 2012 Kurt Masur Conductors Seminar in New York where he received his first of several invitations to perform with Mo. Masur in concert. Further studies include working intensively with famed pedagogue Jorma Punula and Christopher Warren-Green.
As an accomplished and award winning tubist, Mr. 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” and at age 18, he was the first tubist in the history of the Aspen Music Festival to win the festival wide concerto competition. He has performed, toured and recorded with the Symphony Orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, Seattle and with the New York Philharmonic. He has held principal posts with orchestras in America, Spain, China, and most recently was principal tuba for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra from 2004 - 2007
Born and raised in Lisbon to both American and Portuguese parents, he currently divides his time between Miami, FL, and Charlotte, NC.