James Conlon, music director of the Ravinia Festival, finds himself in a period of transition. This summer marks his last year in the Ravinia post, after an 11-season tenure, and he’s also stepping down in 2016 at the Cincinnati May Festival, where he has been music director since 1979.
At 64, he’s not retiring, however. He remains music director of the Los Angeles Opera, a position he took up in 2006 and will continue to conduct orchestras worldwide, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he will lead a program of works by Mozart, Vanhal and Dvořák in subscription concerts Dec. 17-19. He also has accepted an appointment as principal conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, based in Turin, Italy, beginning with the 2016/17 season.
“You shouldn’t stay too long,” Conlon said in an interview with the online site Classical Voice North America. “I have other things on my mind at this point in life, and that’s pretty much what it is. I’m looking to the future. I think it’s time for some changes.”
What he’ll miss the most, after he leaves Ravinia, is “the consistent, high level of performance of the Chicago Symphony — the excitement of that and the fact that that excitement comes night after night, year after year. That’s what stands out.”
To read the full article, click here. James Conlon begins his Ravinia residency July 22 leading the CSO in Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, with guest soloist Garrick Ohlsson.