The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announced today that conductor Andreas Delfs will step down as music director in the summer of 2009, after 12 years in the post.
In a statement released by the orchestra, Delfs stressed his affection for the city of Milwaukee and its people, but said that he needs to re-establish his home base in Germany in order to develop his growing career in Europe.
According to the statement, Delfs had intended to depart when his contract expired at the end of next season, but he accepted the Milwaukee SO board's invitation to remain for an additional year — through 2008-09, the orchestra's 50th anniversary season.
He will conduct eight subscription programs in Milwaukee in 2007-08 and seven in his final season as music director, in addition to several performances elsewhere in Wisconsin and the Midwest. He will return for one subscription week each in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons as Conductor Laureate.
Among Delfs's achievements in his decade with the Milwaukee Symphony so far are re-establishing the orchestra's recording activity and leading the group to become the first US orchestra to distribute live concert recordings commercially as digital downloads. In 1999, Delfs and the MSO toured Cuba, making the group the first major American orchestra to perform on the island since 1962.