Gaffigan is currently assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.
"James Gaffigan is an exciting musician and conductor," said SFS music director Michael Tilson Thomas. "In a very short time, he has done remarkable work with the Cleveland Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the Zurich Opera, and we are all very much looking forward to him becoming a leader in our musical community."
Gaffigan will assist Tilson Thomas and lead subscription and summer concerts.
A graduate of the New England Conservatory and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Gaffigan trained at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen and the Tanglewood Music Center. He shared first prize at the Georg Solti International Conductors' Competition in Frankfurt in September 2004.
The SFS also announced that resident conductor Edwin Outwater will leave his position at the end of the 2005-06 season because of his growing international career as a guest conductor.