Schwarz's current contact expires in 2008, and according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, many local observers did not think it would be renewed. The orchestra said, however, that the board of directors "voted overwhelmingly" to retain him.
Schwarz's "remarkable achievements with the orchestra in the past 21 seasons have brought a new level of excellence to our orchestra," said board chair Ron Woodard. "We are thrilled to have secured his services for three additional years."
"I very much look forward to my continued artistic work with our great orchestra," Schwarz said. "Our artistic vision is clear and can only be achieved with the support of our board. I am very grateful for their confidence and I am very proud to look forward to our future."
Schwarz has led the orchestra since 1985. According to the orchestra, the SSO has quadrupled its budget, tripled its number of presentations, and boosted its subscriber base from 5,000 to 35,000 during his tenure.
The SSO also announced that it had named Carolyn Kuan, currently the assistant conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, as its own assistant conductor, and appointed 22-year-old cellist Joshua Roman, a recent graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, as principal cellist. Roman replaces Raymond Davis, who will retire at the end of the season after 44 years as a member of the SSO.