Future succession to keep PSO busy
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When Sir Andrew Davis first took the post of artistic adviser with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, he made it clear that there was no guarantee he would continue it beyond the three-year agreement.
"What I really want to do is go in there and say, here I am, here you are, we are going to work. We are here for three years, that's it," in an interview with the Post-Gazette May of 2005. He went on to say: "We have this relationship, and it will develop as fully and as intimately as it can."
It turns out that, for Davis, the relationship will not develop beyond his original agreement. This week he told the orchestra that he has "decided to step down when his three-year contract expires at the end of the 2007-08 season." He will fulfill his duties as artistic adviser and hopes to return to guest conduct, but he will not be interested in extending his formal relationship.
"This was Andrew's decision," says Larry Tamburri, president of the PSO. "His life has gotten more complicated. His job at Lyric Opera [of Chicago, where he is music director] has grown. We understand his decision."
Now, the decision-making shifts back to the PSO, which must look ahead to its artistic leadership after Davis departs. There is no official search committee (which would comprise staff, board members and musicians) in place yet and no timetable for selecting a successor.
Davis' announcement may seem early -- few people give two years' notice -- but in the classical music industry, artists and conductors are booked two to three years out.
Tamburri doesn't want to discuss names, but he did say that the conducting artistic team, of which Davis shared leadership roles with conductors Yan Pascal Tortelier and Marek Janowski, is not set in stone.
"We are not wedded to this model," he said. "It is a new model for an orchestra in America to be trying. We have found parts of it that have been interesting and enlightening and parts that don't work as well. We will either have to find ways to make it work within the model or work outside of it. We want to do what is best for the artistic future of the organization."
Whether the PSO continues a trio model or hires a music director will, in fact, have much to do with whom it hires, says concertmaster Andres Cardenes. "It will depend upon the person and the feeling in the orchestra and everyone involved in the decision-making process," he said. "You need to find the person first. Maybe they don't want to be part of the triumvirate; maybe they want to be the full boss. Until you have someone, you don't know."
Cardenes did stress that the PSO is not just looking to land a director for when Davis leaves, but it also is planning for future succession.
"There is a perpetual search from now on, not only for the guy or woman who is coming next, but for who will come after that to lead the symphony 20 years from now. Everyone is taking names."
First Published September 29, 2006 12:00 am