Raymond Hughes' distinguished international career includes successive conducting posts with opera companies in Germany and South Africa, and working as Principal Guest Conductor of the Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy.
In 1991 he was appointed Chorus Master of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. During his tenure at the Met, from which he retired in 2007, he worked closely with the Artistic Director, James Levine, on international tours to Spain, Germany, and Japan; for the 1996 debut of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus in concert in Carnegie Hall and in several subsequent seasons; and in numerous audio and video recordings.
Highlights of his Met career include working on Otto Schenk's new productions of Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg and Don Pasquale, as well as Franco Zeffirelli's new stagings of Carmen and La traviata. Because of his knowledge of Russian opera, language, and culture, he collaborated extensively with the Met's principal guest conductor, Valery Gergiev, in the groundbreaking new productions of Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame and Mazeppa, Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mzensk, and Prokofiev's War and Peace, as well as in revivals of Boris Godunov, Khovanshchina, and Eugene Onegin.
Increasingly in demand as a conductor and as a musical and artistic consultant, he made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in May 2007 leading Maurice Duruflé's Requiem, and his debut at in December 2007 at La Fenice Opera House in Venice, Italy, conducting an opera gala. He conducted Mozart's Requiem in Oklahoma City and returned to Venice in July2008 to conduct Pergolesi's La serva padrona for MusicaVenezia. He was recently appointed
Principal Guest Conductor of the Festival of the Aegean on the Greek isle of Syros for the 2009 season.
The scion of a musical family in Thomasville, Georgia, he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in Liberal Arts from the University of Georgia, and did graduate work in conducting at the University of South Carolina, Indiana University, and the Aspen Festival. He earned a diploma in Russian Language Studies from the Gorniy Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1997.
The Wagner Society of New York honored Raymond Hughes in 2007 for his energetic engagement on behalf of German opera at the Met. Additionally, he holds Distinguished Alumnus awards from the University of South Carolina and from the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina, where he studied piano in his teens, and where, in the mid-1980s, he worked as Resident Opera Conductor.