Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Announces Contract Extension for Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Board Chair Ben Johnson announced today that the contract for Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles will be extended for one year, through the 2011-12 season. Following the end of his contract, Mr. Runnicles will continue to appear as a guest conductor with the Orchestra for two weeks annually — he currently appears four weeks each season.

“The excitement and fulfillment of working with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra deepens for me each year. I have such confidence in both this Orchestra and Robert’s leadership, and look forward to continuing our musical partnership.” - Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles
Music Director Robert Spano and Mr. Runnicles, whose tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra began in the 2001-02 season, are currently in their ninth season with the Orchestra. At the end of Mr. Runnicles’s contract, they will have shared more than a decade of shaping the Orchestra’s musical direction.
“Robert Spano and Donald Runnicles have formed a superb artistic team with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra over nearly ten years. The Orchestra has never sounded better and the team has grown together in stature and reputation. Robert and Donald have created a bond with not only the musicians, but with the people of Atlanta , and it was the shared desire of the entire organization to keep the team in place. We are delighted that Donald will continue on the team, and we look forward to our continued journey together.” - Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Board Chair Ben Johnson

Donald Runnicles is now in his ninth year with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. This season Mr. Runnicles took up two new top artistic posts in Europe — General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. For 17 years, he was the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the San Francisco Opera, where he conducted more than 60 productions in over 350 performances. Mr. Runnicles is also Music Director of the Grand Teton Summer Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“Robert and Donald have, for nearly a decade, helped shape musical perspective and programming within this Orchestra and throughout the country. The ASO has, for years now, been a hub of creativity through performances, presentations, and learning forums, all inspired by the work of our artistic team. We are so honored to have Donald here through the 2011-12 season, and look forward to all he and Robert will continue to create.” Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Interim CEO Donald F. Fox “

Mr. Runnicles’s recordings with the Atlanta Symphony include a critically acclaimed concert disc with soprano Christine Brewer singing Strauss and Wagner; Mozart’s Requiem; Orff’s Carmina Burana; and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, among others, all on Telarc (with whom the Atlanta Symphony has had a 30-year recording relationship). During that time, the Orchestra has recorded more than 100 albums, and its recordings have won 26 Grammy Awards. Also in Mr. Runnicles’s discography are a highly praised live recording of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde released in 2007 by Warner Classics, with Christine Brewer and John Treleaven; Britten Billy Budd with Bo Skovhus, Neil Shicoff and the Vienna State Opera; a Grammy-nominated recital of German Romantic opera arias with tenor Ben Heppner; “Ring” excerpts with the Dresden Staatskapelle; Humperdinck Hänsel und Gretel; Bellini I Capuleti e i Montecchi; and a disc with soprano Jane Eaglen of works by Strauss, Wagner and Berg.

“I am so proud to have led the search that brought Robert and Donald to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2001. To have watched the Creative Partnership grow this Orchestra as a whole has been tremendous. Keeping this artistic team in place for another couple of years thrills all of us here at the Arts Center , and we look forward to continued innovative and exciting music-making from this great Orchestra.” Woodruff Arts Center President and CEO Joe Bankoff

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