The SPCO has been led by a group of artistic partners, rather than a single artistic director, since the fall of 2004. The current artistic partners are conductor Roberto Abbado, violinist Joshua Bell, conductor Douglas Boyd, pianist Stephen Prutsman, and conductor Nicholas McGegan.
Aimard will begin a three-year term with the group in fall 2006. He will concentrate on contemporary music and music of the Classical period, according to a statement, and will conduct as well as appearing as a piano soloist and in chamber groups.
"Pierre-Laurent Aimard brings to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra an infectious and inspiring musicianship combined with an extraordinary sensitivity at the piano keyboard," said Barry Kempton, vice president of artistic planning. "His musical interests and talent are a wonderful addition to our complement of artistic partners."
Aimard is currently touring the United States, playing solo piano works by Beethoven, Chopin, Messiaen, Ravel, Debussy, Pierre Boulez, and others, in cities from Middlebury, Vermont, to Chicago.