Ben-Dor to quit as ASO conductor after next season She points to growth in her responsibilities

April 21, 1996|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Gisele Ben-Dor, conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra for the past five years, will step down at the close of the 1996-1997 season.

Pointing to an overwhelming increase in her professional responsibilities and a wish to spend more time with her husband and two sons, she expressed her regret at not being able to continue with the orchestra.

"As I approach the sixth and last year with the ASO, I wish to thank the community for its interest and support of their orchestra as well as to congratulate the musicians for their talent," Ms. Ben-Dor wrote in a statement.

Ms. Ben-Dor is completing her second full season at the helm of the Santa Barbara Symphony and expects to be recording with the California ensemble.

She also retains the directorship of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and maintains extensive commitments abroad.

Since substituting at the last minute for the ailing Kurt Masur in December 1993, Ms. Ben-Dor has made several appearances with the New York Philharmonic.

She also has begun to record. An all-Bartok disc for Centaur Records and a Ginastera anthology released by Koch International have garnered impressive reviews.

Ms. Ben-Dor has proved an ex- emplary accompanist in the concerto repertoire. The overall quality of soloists has risen dramatically during her tenure, and many visitors have lauded her technical acumen and her collegiality.

The number of concerts the ASO gives each year has increased steadily, and educational outreach programs have grown rapidly.

"Working with Gisele has been an educational and personally rewarding experience," said Mitchell Nathanson, president of the orchestra's board.

"I will miss her artistic guidance, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with her during these last years."

It is expected that a search committee will be formed to compile a list of candidates and that the 1997-1998 concert season will be given over to five or six finalists vying for the permanent appointment.

Pub Date: 4/21/96

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