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Music Director Carl St.Clair Asks Board To Begin Succession Planning

The new agreement reaffirms his commitment to Pacific Symphony, its musicians, and to the community of supporters and friends.

Music Director Carl St.Clair Asks Board To Begin Succession Planning

Pacific Symphony announces that Music Director Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony's Board of Directors have come to agreement on a two-year extension of his contract for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, with an option for additional extensions. The new agreement reaffirms his commitment to Pacific Symphony, its musicians, and to the community of supporters and friends that he will continue to be the artistic leader for Pacific Symphony.

While making this important commitment, Maestro St.Clair asked the Board to begin shaping a succession plan and to commence a search for his successor in a fashion that will assure a continuity of leadership. Until the Symphony has secured a successor, St.Clair will continue as music director. There is no specific timetable, and this will afford the Board, musicians, and staff the freedom to assess potential candidates very carefully over time allowing for a seamless transition.

Long-time board member and current Board Chair, John Evans, commented that "Carl St.Clair's tenure has been one of great progression from our early performances at Santa Ana High School to the opening of the breathtaking Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. His 33-year tenure is among the longest in U.S. orchestral history. Extending Carl's contract as music director of our Symphony will help support the orchestra's continued achievement of artistic excellence. I am also grateful to Carl for this thoughtful approach to succession, continuing in his role as Music Director while we start a search for his successor."

During his tenure, St.Clair has become widely recognized for his musically distinguished performances, his commitment to building outstanding education and community engagement programs, and his innovative approaches to programming. In April 2018, St.Clair led Pacific Symphony in its sold-out Carnegie Hall debut, as the finale to the Carnegie's yearlong celebration of pre-eminent composer Philip Glass' 80th birthday, ending in a standing ovation, with The New York Times calling the Symphony "a major ensemble!" He led Pacific Symphony on its first tour to China in May 2018, the orchestra's first international tour since touring Europe in 2006. The orchestra made its national PBS debut in June 2018 on Great Performances with Peter Boyer's Ellis Island: The Dream of America, conducted by St.Clair. Among St.Clair's many creative endeavors are the highly acclaimed American Composers Festival, which began in 2000; and the opera initiative, "Symphonic Voices," which has included concert-opera productions of Madame Butterfly, The Magic Flute, Aida, Turandot, Carmen, La Traviata, Tosca, and La Bohème in previous seasons.

"I am so grateful to Carl for remaining committed to Pacific Symphony. As visionary and orchestra builder, Carl has possessed a singular commitment to Orange County. He has a deep love for the musicians with whom he has collaborated," says Pacific Symphony President and CEO John Forsyte. "It has been thrilling to listen to and watch the chemistry of this orchestra evolve and grow over the three decades of Carl's tenure. He has inspired the community, initiated national models of education and community engagement programming, designed fascinating festivals, commissioned important composers, and led our development to the top tier of American orchestras. Of course, this is a point of great emotion for all of us who love Carl's work. We know that Carl will have a significant role with Pacific Symphony for the foreseeable future."

Maestro St.Clair joined Pacific Symphony in 1990 and is only the second music director in the orchestra's 44-year history. "I am grateful to the community and our patrons for showing so much support for the orchestra and me all these years. I have been granted a unique gift to be part of the development of an institution from its early period," St.Clair shared. "The musicians of Pacific Symphony and I have shared an extraordinary 33-year journey, and I am honored that the Board has extended my contract for two seasons, and that I will remain music director through 2023-24, if not longer. I am pleased to reaffirm my commitment to Pacific Symphony and pledge my commitment to continue to be part of the Symphony Family for many years to come."

Pacific Symphony opens the 2022-23 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series on September 22-24 with performances that include Beethoven's Triple Concerto and Ravel's Boléro. In keeping with St.Clair's commitment to contemporary composers, he has also programmed Re(new)al, a work for percussion and orchestra by Viet Cuong.

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