Photo By: Bonnie Perkinson
Originally Published by Baltimore Business Journal on 11/18/2020
Written By: Amanda Yeager
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will bring on a well-known and well-regarded conductor next year to help with the transition to new artistic leadership as longtime BSO Music Director Marin Alsop prepares to leave the orchestra.
James Conlon, the Los Angeles Opera’s music director since 2006, will join the BSO as an artistic adviser, the orchestra announced Tuesday. Conlon’s role will start in September 2021, at the conclusion of Alsop’s 14-year tenure.
As artistic adviser, he will help bridge the gap between Alsop’s departure and the hiring of a new music director for the BSO, a process that is expected to take several years. The orchestra said Conlon has committed to leading three concert weeks per year during the 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, as well as help to fill vacancies and attract musical talent.
“The process of identifying a leader who is not only an extraordinary musician, but also a passionate advocate of the orchestra’s vital role in the community, will take time,” BSO President Peter Kjome said in a statement. “The appointment of James Conlon as artistic adviser allows that time, and it is a wonderful testament to those in Baltimore, Maryland, and beyond that the BSO’s positive momentum continues.”
The announcement comes amid a time of change for the BSO, which in February unveiled a five-year plan detailing its vision to engage a larger, more diverse audience after years of financial struggles. In August, the orchestra signed the first long-term contract with its musicians in years, putting an end to a period of turbulent relations between the organization’s management and artists that culminated in a months-long labor dispute and lockout in 2019.
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