James Levine resigns as Boston Symphony Orchestra music director

, Staff

James Levine will step down from his current role as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2004, on September 1. Over the past few years, Levine has been plagued by several health problems and just yesterday had pulled out of all his remaining scheduled concerts with the BSO.

“Given the challenges regarding my health and the ensuing absences that have forced me to take from my work with the BSO, I believe it is best for everyone, but especially the orchestra and our wonderful audiences, for me to step down as music director,” said Levine in a press release. “I make this decision knowing that I need to focus more of my attention on getting back to better health, so when I do return to the BSO podium I can continue the important work the orchestra and I have done together during the period of my music directorship…. It has been an honor and a privilege to have served in that role these past seven years.”

Discussions between the BSO and Maestro Levine are underway to define an ongoing new role for Levine. BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe has also announced that the BSO will immediately form a search committee to begin the process of appointing the next Boston Symphony Music Director.

“The BSO has been incredibly fortunate to have had one of the greatest conductors of our time at its helm since 2004,” said Volpe in a press release. “That being said, given Maestro Levine’s health issues, this has been a challenging time for all of us in the Boston Symphony Orchestra family, especially our beloved orchestra and devoted audiences… We look forward to continuing our conversation with Jim about defining a new role where he can focus solely on the music and defining artistically stimulating projects that would be meaningful to him and the orchestra, building upon his BSO legacy thus far.”

Levine is the BSO’s 14th music director since the orchestra’s founding in 1881 and the first American-born conductor to hold that position. Levine is also music director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

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