Hangen, 59, has been conducting the Pops since 1979 and has served as principal guest conductor since 2002, leading between 10 and 30 Pops concerts a year.
According to the Globe, Hangen was not informed why he was let go, but speculated that perhaps he angered management by turning down Pops concerts to accept engagements with other orchestras. Keith Lockhart, principal conductor of the Pops, receives a salary; Hangen is paid per concert.
"I'm not arguing about their ability to make whatever decision they want to make," Hangen, who is director of orchestral activities at Boston Conservatory and music director of the Indian Hill Symphony in Littleton, Massachusetts, told the Globe. "My upset comes from the fact that I thought I was an honored colleague and that honored colleagues simply don't get treated this way."
A statement from the Boston Symphony Orchestra (of which the Boston Pops is a subsidiary) said, "we are constantly reevaluating the needs of the organization and strategically responding to them on every level, including staffing ... [the Pops] is a complex organization with constantly changing needs, and we're grateful to Bruce for his contributions during his time as principal guest conductor."