The German conductor, whose initial appointment began with the 2003-04 season, said, "I am delighted to extend my tenure as the music director with the Florida Orchestra. As I have said on many occasions, this is one of the best orchestras I have ever conducted and as the orchestra continues to grow artistically, I can say quite confidently that it is well on its way to become one of the most respected orchestras in the United States."
Sanderling, 42, studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Kurt Masur and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Slatkin, and Yuri Termikanov. He has guest-conducted orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the London Philharmonic, and the Prague Symphony.
The extension of his directorship was well received by the musicians. Erika Shrauger, chairman of the orchestra committee, said, "This is wonderful news to the musicians. Stefan Sanderling is respected by everyone for the depth of his musical knowledge, his gifts as a communicator, and his natural leadership abilities. His first years here have had a positive impact on the orchestra's artistic growth and in further defining the Florida Orchestra's own sound."
According to the St. Petersburg Times, Sanderling established a good rapport with audiences during his first seasons, with frequent community appearances and preconcert talks and by occasionally speaking from the stage to explain unfamiliar works. His programming has blended traditional and new repertoire.