Eddins' three-year contract begins with the 2005-06 season, during which he will conduct 11 weeks of concerts. According to a statement from the ESO, he will help plan the upcoming season, and will also conduct the orchestra during a Mozart festival in June.
A 40-year-old American, Eddins is currently principal guest conductor of the National Symphony of Ireland. He was on Daniel Barenboim's staff at the Chicago Symphony for ten years, as assistant, associate, and resident conductor. He has also served as associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and as an assistant to Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera.
Eddins first conducted the ESO in May 2004; he returned for another performance in October, leading the world premiere of Malcolm Forsyth's Concerto for Viola and Cello. After that performance, according to the orchestra, musicians asked the board to end its search process and offer the position of music director to Eddins.
The ESO has been without a music director since 2002, when the orchestra's board chose not to renew Grzegorz Nowak's contract. Shortly afterwards, musicians went on strike, citing the dismissal of the popular conductor as well as monetary and other issues. In the settlement, the musicians won greater control over the governance of the orchestra.