Tuesday, January 25, 2000

'Chemistry' drew new maestro

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After a 12-month search, Paavo Jarvi, 37, will become the 12th music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

        The Estonian-born American conductor signed a four-year contract on Monday at Music Hall. He will begin his tenure in September 2001.

        The 105-year-old orchestra and Music Hall were the two most important factors in his decision, he said.

        “There was something we call chemistry in the very beginning,” said Mr. Jarvi, who received a standing ovation from the group of CSO musicians, arts leaders and board members assembled Monday for the announcement. “Here, you see history, you see tradition, you see that this is an important place to make music.”

        Mr. Jarvi plans to make his home in Cincinnati.

        After Mr. Jarvi made a spectacular debut with the CSO in February 1999, he was invited back for engagements in October and November. The search committee unanimously recommended his appointment following the last concert, said CSO violist Paul Frankenfeld, a member of the committee.

        Although terms of Mr. Jarvi's contract were not disclosed, such a position in one of the top 20 U.S. orchestras commands a salary of $500,000 to $1.3 million a year. The CSO has a budget of $28.2 million, the nation's seventh-highest.

        He will conduct for 12 weeks of the orchestra's 24-week season the first year of his contract, and 14 weeks thereafter.

        He succeeds Jesus Lopez-Cobos, music director since 1986, who will leave at the end of the 2000-2001 season.


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