Fast-rising young conductor Alan Gilbert has officially stepped down as music director of the Santa Fe. He made the announcement, along with company general director Richard Gaddes, in a statement released today.
With a burgeoning international career as a symphonic conductor — including a regular relationship with the New York Philharmonic, with which both his parents played violin for many years — keeping him busy on three continents, Gilbert determined that, as he stated in today's announcement, "the position of Music Director unfortunately requires a time commitment that at the present I feel I am unable to make.
"It is a very bittersweet moment for me to leave the Santa Fe Opera," he said. "It is a great opera company with the highest musical standards. I have had the privilege of working with a superb orchestra, gifted singers, and fabulous creative teams as well as the dedicated Opera staff."
Gilbert's association with the Santa Fe Opera goes back to his childhood: His father was concertmaster there for a number of years, and he was himself assistant concertmaster in 1993 (at age 26). For most of the company's history, its founder, John Crosby, effectively functioned as music director; Gilbert was the first to hold the position when he took the job in 2003. His initial contract expired last summer, and he had already decided to take the 2007 summer season off.
"We are honored to have had Alan as our Music Director for four wonderful years," said Gaddes. "Our time together has been delightful and many things have been accomplished. The Opera Orchestra has never sounded better. The operas he has led have been outstanding; last year's production of The Tempest comes especially to mind. Alan is a profoundly gifted musician, and his career is skyrocketing. All of us at the Santa Fe Opera wish him well, and look forward to having him return to our podium in future years. He will always be welcome."