Conductors departing San Diego Opera, San Diego Symphony


Classical music. Violinists in concert

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SAN DIEGO — The top conductors of the San Diego Opera and the San Diego Symphony will be departing their respective organizations in the months to come.

Karen Keltner, who has been resident conductor of San Diego Opera since the early 1980s, will step down Feb. 1, following the company’s production of “La Boheme,” Los Angeles Times reported.

Elsewhere in the city, Jahja Ling will depart the San Diego Symphony at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, following a tenure as music director that will have lasted 13 years by the time he leaves.

The symphony and the opera are separate and independent of each other, but musicians from the symphony perform as the pit orchestra for the opera.

Keltner’s departure from San Diego Opera comes as the company relaunches itself following a traumatic period this year in which the company’s plan to shut down was reversed following a bitter internal struggle.

The highly public fight saw the departure of the company’s longtime leader, Ian Campbell, who had named Keltner as resident conductor more than three decades ago. Keltner previously served as associate conductor at the company.

“I am so proud of all of us and our generous public who refused to let San Diego Opera die,” she said in a prepared statement.

“La Boheme” is scheduled to run for four performances starting Jan. 24.

An opera spokesman was unable to say if and when the company would name a new resident conductor. The upcoming productions of “Don Giovanni” and “Nixon in China” will be led by guest conductors Daniele Callegari and Joseph Mechavich, respectively.

The opera is still looking for a permanent general director who would succeed Campbell. For the interim, the opera has brought on board William Mason, formerly of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, in the role of artistic advisor.

At the San Diego Symphony, the November announcement of Ling’s stepping down came after the departure in September of the orchestra’s chief executive, Edward Gill, who led the organization for more than a decade.

Martha S. Gilmer has since taken over the leadership of the orchestra, having previously worked at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as vice president for artistic planning and audience development.

Story by David Ng of Los Angeles Times

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