The noted American conductor, Lawrence (Thomas) Foster, who was born in Los Angeles to Romanian parents, studied conducting with Fritz Zweig in Los Angeles.
Lawrence Foster made his made his professional debut at the age of 18 with a newly formed Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles in 1960. At the same time he became conductor of the San Francisco Ballet, a post he held until 1965. The same year, at the age of 24, he was appointed assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Phiharmonic Orchestra, which post he held until 1968. In 1966, he received the Koussevitzky Memorial Conducting Prize at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. From 1969 to 1974 he was chief guest conductor of the Royal Philharmonic in London. From 1971 to 1978 he was conductor-m-chief of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. From 1979 to 1990 he was chief conductor of the Opera and the Orchestre National de Monte Carlo (called Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo from 1980). He also became Generalmusikdirektor in the city of Duisburg in 1981, remaining in that position until 1988. From 1990 to 1996 he was music director of the Aspen (Colorado) Music Festival and School. In 1992 he resumed the position of chief conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. He was also Music Director of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (1985-1990) and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (1988-1992). In 1996 he became music director of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. He also served as Artistic Director of the Georg Enescu Festival from 1998 to 2001.
Lawrence Foster is one of the most successful American conductors to win acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Highlights of his career have included concerts with the Orchestre National de Lyon, Radio-Symphonie-Orchester-Berlin, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI (Turin), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Münchner Rundfunkorchester (with whom he will conduct Weillís Seven Deadly Sins). He also appears at the Bad Kissingen Festival with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Gulbenkian Orchestra, and opens the Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festival with NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg. In 2002 he was appointed as Music Director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra.
In Summer 2004, Lawrence Foster toured European Summer Festivals (including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the BBC Proms and the opening of the Merano International Music Festival) with the Australian Youth Orchestra. The 2004-2005 season also sees him conducting L.v. Beethoven Piano Concerto cycles with Evgeny Kissin in Madrid, Vienna, Berlin and Munich and touring the Czech Republic with Orchestre de Bretagne. In the USA engagements include the National Arts Centre Ottawa and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Lawrence Foster is particularly notable for his dynamic interpretations of modern works, but has also been acclaimed for his precise and intelligent presentations of the Classical and Romantic repertoire. A prolific opera conductor, he has conducted in many of the worldís most renowned houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opera Comique and Bastille in Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Los Angeles Music Center. Following the inauguration of the latter in 1986 where he conducted Otello with Plácido Domingo in the title role, he has also conducted La Boheme, Faust, The Fiery Angel, Le Nozze di Figaro, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Elektra, Samson and Nabucco. In the 2002-2003 season he conducted a highly acclaimed concert performance of Enescu's Oedipe at the Liceu with Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Future engagements include productions of La Boheme (November 2004) and Eugene Onegin (January 2006) with Los Angeles Opera.
Lawrence Fosterís discography includes a recording on EMI of Enescuís Oedipe featuring José van Dam and Barbara Hendricks, which was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque from the Academie Charles Cros. He has also recorded for CBS, Philips, Decca and Ariola, where his credits include the first recording of Waltonís Troilus and Cressida, A Christmas Concert: Jessye Norman at Notre Dame, and a recording of operetta arias with Barbara Hendricks and the Philharmonia Orchestra. In January 2003, he was decorated by the Romanian President for services to Romanian Music.