After weeks of speculation and innuendo, the New York Philharmonic announced it would choose current Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conductor Lorin Maazel as its next Music Director. The long, exhaustive search for a new conductor began in 1998.
Maazel will succeed current director Kurt Masur in the 2002-2003 season, with a four-year contract whose terms have not yet been made public.
Paul B. Guenther, chairman of the New York Philharmonic, told the New York Times, "under his (Maazel's) artistic leadership we look forward to a vibrant and adventurous collaboration, linking the future to our orchestra's long and majestic history."
Maazel is only the third American conductor named to the podium. He follows in the footsteps of Leonard Bernstein and the NYPO's first conductor, Urelli Corelli Hill. Current La Scala conductor Ricardo Muti and Christof Eschenbach, who will join the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003, were among the leading candidates for the position.
Lorin Varencove Maazel began his music studies with the violin, an instrument he still plays, under the tutelage of Vladimir Bakaleinikoff. Arturo Toscanini arranged for 11-year-old Maazel to conduct the NBC Symphony Orchestra. After studying at Pittsburgh University and in Italy (on a Fullbright Scholarship), Maazel made his European debut at La Scala in 1955. He was named to his first conducting position, leading the German Opera and Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, in 1965. Maazel went on to serve with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and the Pittsburgh Symphony.