Charlotte Symphony Music Director, Critical of Orchestra's Tight Finances, to Step Down in 2009 | Playbill

Classic Arts News Charlotte Symphony Music Director, Critical of Orchestra's Tight Finances, to Step Down in 2009
Charlotte Symphony music director Christof Perick will step down in spring 2009, reports the Charlotte Observer.
Perick began his tenure at the beginning of the 2001-02 season; his contract, which was negotiated last summer, stipulated that he would step down at the end of the 2008-09 season.

According to the Observer, Perick has improved the orchestra musically, but has been frustrated by its precarious financial situation; at the end of the 2004-05 season the CSO had an accumulated deficit of $1.25 million, which is expected to increase when the audit for 2005-06 is completed.

Perick told the paper, "It's hard to understand that in a place with so much wealth and so much money, it seems to be a big problem" to support an orchestra. He is also concerned that cost-cutting measures will have a detrimental affect on the orchestra's newfound artistic progress.

The Charlotte metropolitan area is the nation's 28th largest, ahead of Nashville, Kansas City and Milwaukee, which all have stable, established orchestras. Charlotte is also the largest banking center in the U.S. after New York.

A search committee has been established to find a replacement for Perick. The candidates' musical abilities will of course be paramount, but the committee will also focus on finding a conductor who lives in or can relocate to Charlotte, according to the Observer.

Perick, 60, commutes between Charlotte and Nuremberg, where he is chief conductor at the opera house, and his hometown of Hamburg, where he teaches conducting at the music conservatory.

After this season, Perick will reduce his schedule to five weeks of concerts a season, according to the Observer.

Perick's contract runs through the 2010-11 season; after he steps down as music director in spring 2009, he'll return as laureate conductor for two weeks of concerts a season, according to the paper.

If the committee chooses a new music director before the end of 2008-09, Perick will switch to the laureate title sooner, with no change in his conducting schedule.

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