He succeeds Eiji Oue, who directed the festival from 1997 to 2003 and who took up the post from Ling Tung, who founded the festival in 1968. Peter Oundjian has acted as music advisor since Oue stepped down.
Runnicles, who will take up the post next month, will conduct four concerts during the festival's 2006 season and will oversee its artistic direction.
Runnicles is music director of the San Francisco Opera, as well as principal conductor of New York's Orchestra of St. Luke's and principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He frequently conducts such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony and the Chicago Symphony; appears with opera companies such as the Metropolitan Opera; and makes appearances at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival.
The Grand Teton Music takes place every summer at Teton Village, near the entrances to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The Festival Orchestra is made up of musicians from orchestras all over the North America, and has been led by such conductors as Michael Stern and Mark Elder, and featured such soloists as cellist Lynn Harrell, violinist Julia Fischer, and pianists Marc-Andr_ Hamelin and Horacio Guti_rrez.