Born in Venezuela in 1993, Ilyich Rivas comes from a distinguished musical family. His father Alejandro Rivas was for a number of seasons, the Music Director of the Metropolitan State Symphony Orchestra (Denver). From the time Ilyich was a very young boy, it was clear he had a natural talent for conducting and began studying with his father who continues to be his principal guide and mentor to this day.
“[Rivas’] approach was musical, careful, detailed… This is an interesting and unusual 16-year old, one who knows the limits of his own authority. He’s clearly building on his artistry without haste.” – MusicalAmerica.com, 1 września 2009
In 2009, Ilyich was selected as one of seven young conductors from around the world to participate in the prestigious Cabrillo Festival Conductors Workshop in California, where he made a significant impression on both Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier. After an audition in front of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he was awarded the position of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Peabody Institute Conducting Fellow. This two-year position enabled Ilyich to study conducting at the Peabody Conservatory under Meier’s guidance and to work closely with Marin Alsop and the BSO, conducting the orchestra on certain occasions. In the summer of 2009, Ilyich spent an extensive period of time in Europe at the invitation of Glyndebourne Opera, where he observed rehearsals and performances mentored primarily by Vladimir Jurowski and then attended the first Verbier Festival Conducting Academy.
In the 2009/10 season, he made his professional debut in the US conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a summer festival concert to great critical acclaim. He also made a hugely impressive debut with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra conducting works by Verdi, Villa-Lobos and Respighi which resulted in an immediate re-invitation.
In the 2010/11 season, Ilyich was once again invited by Glyndebourne Opera to continue the mentoring programme with leading conductors including Vladimir Jurowski, James Gaffigan and Vasily Petrenko. He also returned to Verbier to make a significant debut conducting the Festival Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and a semi-staged performance of La Bohème. He also made a highly successful debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as part of their main subscription series with a programme that included Shostakovich’s No. 1 Symphony. He recently conducted the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and travelled to Australia at the invitation of Michael Tilson Thomas to conduct the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. In May 2011, he made his Royal Festival Hall (London) debut with Lang Lang as soloist and the Youth Orchestra of Bahia (Brazil) and conducted the Youth Orchestra of the Americas in Mexico.
“…With a 17-year-old conductor, Ilyich Rivas, whose imperturbable authority defies belief.” – The Sunday Times 17th May 2011
Ilyich began this season working as Assistant Conductor on Britten’s Albert Herring in Aldeburgh under the direction of Stuart Bedford. Other engagement highlights include his debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Latvian Symphony Orchestra’s New Year’s concerts, Mexico City Philharmonic, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (Turkey) and the Lebanese Philharmonic as part of the Al Bustan Festival. In the summer, Ilyich will make his debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, return to the Stuttgart Radio Symphony as well as spend an extensive period of time at Glyndebourne Festival. He will be Assistant Conductor for Glyndebourne Opera for La Bohème and will make his UK opera debut conducting Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Glyndebourne Touring Opera.