Opera to Orchestra Commute
Boston Symphony Orchestra audiences will have a chance to see their next music
director February 21 through 23, when James Levine is scheduled to guest
conduct. Levine was tapped in late October as the successor to Seiji Ozawa
beginning with the 2004-05 season. He assumes the title of music director
designate this September.
The news means that Levine will keep a busy New
York-Boston commuting schedule, as he will also retain the music directorship of
the Metropolitan Opera. The 58-year-old Levine's contract with the Met runs
through 2008. His Met association stretches back 30 years, a tenure that
includes establishment of the Young Artist Development Program and emergence of
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as a respected ensemble with its own concert
However, Levine has indicated he will cut back guest-conducting appearances
and is not expected to renew his contract as conductor of the Munich
Philharmonic when it expires in 2004. The BSO music directorship also includes
the orchestra's Tanglewood season. The Cincinnati-born Levine becomes the first
American to lead the BSO in its 121-year history, inheriting the post from the
orchestra's longest-tenured music director. Ozawa will leave the BSO at the end
of this season after 29 years.
Rumors that Levine was negotiating with the BSO had circulated for several
months prior to the official announcement, with insiders speculating that Levine
was angling for a contract that would allow him to continue a full schedule at
the Met. Maybe he was just waiting for Amtrak's new high-speed Acela train to
begin regular service between New York and Boston.