The young Mexican conductor will lead the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for the next three years.

In an exciting and forward-looking move, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra has today announced the appointment of Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra as Music Director following a marathon two-year global search. Ms de la Parra will begin a three-year contract in 2017 – coincidentally the orchestra’s 70th anniversary year – and in a turn-up for the books, it is expected that she will spend “significant time” in Brisbane throughout the year.

“It is truly a great honour to be chosen as the first Music Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and a dream come true for me,” said the 34-year-old conductor. “The QSO is an innovative arts company, with a great vibrancy and truly outstanding musicality and I am truly excited to take on this new role and return to Queensland – earlier in the year I had the pleasure of working closely with the QSO musicians and team, performing and creating and I’m looking forward to building on the positive connections that flourished during that time.”

In a substantial list of firsts, this is the first appointment of a Music Director by an Australian orchestra. “The appointment of Alondra de la Parra is a major turning point for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra,” said Sophie Galaise, the QSO’s CEO and the woman responsible for many of the orchestra’s recent significant artistic and financial successes. “Not only are we the first in the country to appoint a Music Director, therefore aligning ourselves with the great orchestras of the world, but with our first Music Director we have secured a music leader who could choose to work with any orchestra across the globe.”

As Music Director Ms de la Parra takes on the combined roles of Chief Conductor, Artistic Director and Community Arts Leader, an appointment that reflects current international trends such as Simon Rattle’s recent move to the London Symphony Orchestra, and is indicative of new understanding of the importance of connecting orchestral leadership directly with community and outreach projects as well as crucial audience development. Among her recogined skills, Alondra de la Parra is a noted music educator.

In another notable first, Alondra de la Parra will be the first woman to head up a State symphony orchestra following the trail blazed by Simone Young (briefly Music Director of Opera Australia) and Nicolette Fraillon who has been at the Australian Ballet now for well over a decade. Ms de la Parra similarly holds the distinction of being the first Mexican woman to conduct in New York City and is an official Cultural Ambassador of Mexico.

Ms de la Parra’s recent performances in Brisbane conducting the QSO received considerable acclaim with Limelight commenting on her “masterful management in matters of balance and pacing.” Reviewing her eclectic and thrilling survey of contemporary Latin-American music at QSO Current, Limelight remarked that “Alondra de la Parra brought it all off wonderfully, ensuring when hair was let down, it pretty much hit the floor.” Her international track record is no less impressive having received excellent notices with the Orchestre de Paris, the London Philharmonic and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Brisbane could be in for a whole range of treats as Ms de la Parra counts actors like Geoffrey Rush, Robert Redford, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and musicians such as  Plácido Domingo, The Capuçon brothers, Yefim Bronfman, Emmanuel Pahud and Gloria Estefan among her former collaborators. Meanwhile, as Music Director designate she will open QSO’s 2016 season with Mahler’s mighty Resurrection Symphony on February 27.