Read James’ Keynote Address presented last month at the symposium “Music, Censorship and Meaning in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: Echoes and Consequences” by the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School, now on his Musical America blog.
The 64-year-old American conductor has offered to extend his present contract with the festival for another year, which will keep him in his post through the 2015 summer season, for a total of 11 years as its fourth music director, Ravinia was scheduled to announce Tuesday.
“Everything has its time, and after 11 years I feel it is the moment to pass on this responsibility,” Conlon said in a statement. “This has been a difficult decision. The work at Ravinia is very meaningful to me, and the Chicago Symphony is a supreme orchestra.”
James Conlon and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra celebrated the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth at the Ravinia Festival with an in-concert performance of Salome featuring Patricia Racette in her first performance of the title role.
“James Conlon led a stunning account of the score, notable for a sensitive delivery of Strauss’s clever aural evocations of everything from sly Egyptians, to bombastic Romans and chilling desert winds. Particularly admirable was the crisp clarity of specific instrumental contributions: the tense, squawking strings before Jochanaan’s beheading, and the consistently excellent work from the percussion section were practically worth the price of admission.”