Litton, who previously served as the orchestra's principal conductor and artistic advisor, will occupy his new post through the 2008-09 season. He is the first American associated with the Bergen Philharmonic, which counts the composer Edvard Grieg among its previous music directors.
"The Bergen Philharmonic is one of Norway's unique cultural treasures," Litton said. "The level of musicianship and dedication is prodigious. I cannot overstate my joy in working with such colleagues in such a wonderful environment."
In addition to his new duties, which include 10 weeks of concerts and long-term planning and programming, Litton will continue as artistic director of the Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest. He leaves the Dallas Symphony next year after 12 years.
The orchestra's 2005-06 season marks its 240th anniversary, which makes it one of the world's longest-running orchestras. The season's programming includes a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 at the Bergen International Festival; recordings of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and piano concertos by Alnaes and Sinding, two Norwegian composers; and tours to be announced later.