The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, have signed a three-year extension of his contract; his tenure will now run through July 2011.
"For me, this was an easy decision to make," said the 38-year-old Peru-born conductor (whose existing contract would have expired next year). "I love the Fort Worth community and the people here. It's a wonderful place to raise our three children, all born here, all true Texans. And our musicians are world class. I have conducted orchestras around the world and the musicians here in Fort Worth are as good as they come. I'm thrilled about the possibilities for the future."
Harth-Bedoya has served as music director of the FWSO since 2000. Achievements thus far during his tenure include the Great Performances Festival, which he founded in 2000 to focus on the work of a different composer each year.
The FWSO recently released its first recording with a major label: Sentimiento Latino, with superstar tenor Juan Diego Flórez on Decca; the orchestra has also made a live Tchaikovsky recording and a CD of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf featuring narration, in both English and Spanish, by actor Michael York.
"This is truly wonderful news," said concertmaster Michael Shih, who first met Harth-Bedoya while they were both students at the Juilliard School, of the contract extension. "Miguel's artistic vision has taken the orchestra to new heights and performing with him is always rewarding. He is an inspiration to the musicians, and his communication with our audiences has helped bring them even closer to the music and the players."
Former associate conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Harth-Bedoya returns every year to conduct a subscription week with that orchestra. He has also served as music director of the Auckland Philharmonia, Eugene Symphony Orchestra (in Oregon) and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lima. He guest-conducts with top-tier orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, tax documents show Harth-Bedoya earned $229,500 in 2004.
The FWSO has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall next January.