Rather than collecting applications and then naming a group of finalists, as is standard practice for second-tier orchestras, the orchestra will have private discussions with possible candidates.
The method suggests that the orchestra will try to hire a conductor who has already had a high-profile post, rather than one of the young musicians—many of them assistants at large orchestras—who typically vie for the directorships of smaller groups.
Top conductors are "not going to agree to be part of a public search," Valentine said.
Valentine also said that the orchestra would not rush to hire a music director before its new concert hall, named for Schermerhorn, opens in fall 2006. He suggested that the finished hall would help attract candidates: "It's one thing to talk about a building that's being built; it's another thing to show someone the building or let them hear it for themselves."
A search committee, made up of musicians, board members, and management, will be formed soon.
"[Schermerhorn] was truly one of the greats, and it's going to make it hard to find a new conductor," Valentine said. "He would be impossible to replace, but the organization he built makes us competitive."