San Antonio Symphony Won't Renew Music Director Larry Rachleff's Contract

Classic Arts News   San Antonio Symphony Won't Renew Music Director Larry Rachleff's Contract
San Antonio Symphony Orchestra music director Larry Rachleff's contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the 2007-08 season, reports the San Antonio Express News.

The paper quotes David Green, the orchestra's president and CEO, as saying, "My thought is that San Antonio would most benefit from a music director who lives here." He pointed out that Christopher Wilkins, Rachleff's predecessor, moved to the Texas city when his tenure began in 1991.

Rachleff lives in Houston, where he teaches at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music; he is reportedly unwilling to leave his tenured position there. (He is also music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Chicago Philharmonic.)

The San Antonio Symphony Players Association issued a statement saying the musicians "are deeply disappointed and disturbed" by the decision, according to the paper. "The musicians all love what Larry does on the podium," said Brian Petkovich, a bassoonist and chairman of the players association. "The orchestra has been in a period of financial insecurity. We're just now coming out of that, and now we're going into a period of artistic insecurity."

(In 2003 the San Antonio Symphony was forced to file for bankruptcy protection and cancel its entire 2003-04 concert schedule; the orchestra was able to reopen only by shortening its 2004-05 season and cutting pay for musicians and staff.)

Rachleff also expressed regret, saying, "It saddens me. I love it here. I adore the orchestra ... I truly feel privileged to have been here and was hoping for a long and enduring relationship," according to the paper.

Rachleff was scheduled to take up his tenure in fall 2003, but his arrival was delayed until 2004 because of the orchestra's financial difficulties; consequently, he began to accept other engagements that limited his time in the city, according to the paper.

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