Lawrence Foster

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lawrence Foster (born October 23, 1941) is an American conductor of Romanian ancestry.[1] He is currently the artistic director and chief conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the music director of the Marseille Opera and the Orchestre philharmonique de Marseille [fr].

Early life[edit]

Foster was born in Los Angeles, California, to Romanian parents. His father died when Foster was three years old. He was later adopted by his father-in-law which is why the last name is not traditionally Romanian.[2]

Foster studied conducting with German conductor Fritz Zweig and piano with Joanna Grauden, both in Los Angeles.[2] His other teachers and mentors have included: Karl Böhm, Bruno Walter, Henry Lewis,[3] and Franz Waxman.[4]


Foster became the conductor of the San Francisco Ballet at the age of 18, and served as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. He was awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood in 1966.[5] In 1969 he was named chief guest conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.[6] He has held music directorships with the Houston Symphony, the Ojai Music Festival, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Duisburg Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and National Orchestra of Catalonia, among others.

In 1990, Foster was appointed music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School.[7]

From 2002 to 2013, Foster was the music director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon, Portugal. He also served as music director of the Orchestre National de Montpellier and the Opéra National de Montpellier from 2009 to 2012. In February 2012, Foster was announced as the next music director of Opéra de Marseille and the Orchestre philharmonique de Marseille [fr].[8] As of 2019 Foster is the artistic director and chief conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR).

Foster is particularly noted as an interpreter of the works of George Enescu, and has made a comprehensive survey of commercial recordings of Enescu's music.[8] He served as artistic director of the George Enescu Festival from 1998 to 2001.[9] In 2003, Foster was decorated by the Romanian President for services to Romanian music.[10]

Foster has recorded a number of discs for Pentatone,[11] including Gordon Getty's opera Usher House, Schumann's symphonies, orchestral works by Kodály, Bartók and Ligeti, and piano and violin concertos by Bruch, Korngold, Rachmaninoff, Grieg and Chopin, with various soloists. His recording of Enescu's Oedipe was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque from the Académie Charles Cros in France.

Selected discography[edit]


  1. ^ "Lawrence Foster". Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Hughes, Allen (1977-08-19). "Mozart Is His Metier". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  3. ^ "The Legacy of Henry Lewis" - Biography of Henry Lewis mentor to Lawrence Foster and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on
  4. ^ "Lawrence Foster, chef d'orchestre (1/5)". France Musique (in French). 2021-11-08. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  5. ^ "Recordings by Lawrence Foster | Now available to stream and purchase at Naxos". Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  6. ^ "Lawrence Foster". LA Phil. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  7. ^ "Aspen Music Festival Appoints New Director". The New York Times. 1990-08-17.
  8. ^ a b "Le chef d'orchestre Lawrence Foster à la tête du Philharmonique de Marseille". L'Express (in French). 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  9. ^ Festival (2013-04-04). "Lawrence Foster". George Enescu Festival. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  10. ^ "Lawrence Foster". HarrisonParrott. 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  11. ^ "Lawrence Foster". pentatonemusic. Retrieved 2016-12-08.
  12. ^ "Mephistopheles and Other Bad Guys".

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Miltiades Caridis
Chief conductor, Duisburg Philharmonic
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music director, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music director, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music director, Aspen Music Festival and School
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music director, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and National Orchestra of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Preceded by Principal conductor, Gulbenkian Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music director, Orchestre et Opéra National de Montpellier
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music director, Orchestre philharmonique de Marseille [fr]
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Alexander Liebreich
Artistic director and chief conductor, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by