Gelmetti, a former chief conductor of the Rome Opera, first led the orchestra in 1994. After ten years as guest conductor he was appointed chief conductor in 2004. During his tenure thus far he has overseen acoustical improvements to the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall and used the Internet to expand the orchestra's audience.
Announcing his decision not to renew the contract, Gelmetti said, "The Sydney Symphony, among all the most important orchestras I have had the honor of directing, occupies a very special place in my heart. I will be leaving with regret but confident the orchestra has a fine future ahead."
Reasons for his departure were not elaborated in the statement, but Sydney Symphony chairman David Maloney said, "While the news of Maestro Gelmetti's decision to complete his term as chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony in 2008 will be received by his many friends and supporters with much sadness, the board understands his reasons, and is grateful for the fact that this early notification will enable planning for an orderly transition to commence."
Gelmetti is expected to return regularly as a guest conductor after 2008.