The symphony must keep the level of its ensemble playing high -- something made even more difficult for an orchestra accustomed for 13 years to Zinman's superb ear for balances and his almost microscopically accurate beat. And, in the absence of the continuity usually provided by a music director, it must also sustain the interest of audiences.
For these reasons, the orchestra has once more engaged an unusually high number of prominent guest conductors, three of whom will spend two -- rather than the customary one -- weeks with the orchestra:
* Gunther Herbig (Sept. 16-18 and Oct. 1-3).
* Jeffrey Tate (Oct. 15-17 and Oct. 21-23).
* Alan Gilbert (April 28-30 and May 3-4).
Important conductors who will be making return appearances include:
* Paavo Berglund (Nov. 4-6).
* Mario Venzago (Nov. 18-20).
* Former BSO music directors David Zinman (March 9-10) and Sergiu Comissiona (March 30-31).
* Eliahu Inbal (March 3-5). Along with Kitaenko, Inbal's debut will be the most important by a guest conductor next season.
Guest soloists include:
* Pianists Peter Serkin (Oct. 21-23), Alicia de Larrocha (Nov. 4-5), Andras Schiff (Feb. 17-19) and Brigitte Engerer (March 3-5).
* Violinists Itzhak Perlman (May 3-4), Pinchas Zukerman (March 9-11) and Hilary Hahn (May 25-26).
The most important appearance by a visiting soloist will not take place with the orchestra. It will be a recital in the "Meet Us at the Meyerhoff" series by famed Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin (Dec. 8).