- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ivan Fischer has been named principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, NSO officials announced on Thursday. The two-year appointment will become effective with the 2008-09 season.

The Hungarian-born Mr. Fischer, 56, achieved international renown as the founder and director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. He made his debut with the NSO in 1997. He returned as guest conductor in 2001, and his appointment as principal guest conductor was announced during the NSO’s 75th season, 2005-06.

Leonard Slatkin, the NSO’s fifth music director, will step down at the end of the 2007-08 season.

Mr. Fischer’s term as principal conductor runs through the 2009-10 season. During that time, the search for a music director will be ongoing, orchestra officials said.

“The chemistry onstage with maestro Fischer and the members of the National Symphony is clearly evident in the excellent music they are making, and we are pleased to be able to continue and expand this relationship,” said NSO Chairman Ann Jordan. “His artistry will greatly enhance the next few seasons while we continue the search for our sixth music director.”

“We are delighted that maestro Fischer has strengthened his relationship with the National Symphony Orchestra, and we deeply appreciate his artistry and leadership, which will be invaluable in this time of transition,” added Executive Director Rita Shapiro.

During the 2008-09 season, the Grammy-nominated Mr. Fischer will spend eight weeks with the NSO, including five weeks on the orchestra’s classical subscription series. The following season, he will spend seven weeks with the NSO, six of which will be on the subscription season. In addition, during those two years, he will lead the American Residencies and any other potential tours. He also will advise the orchestra on overall artistic issues, officials said.

“Making music with the National Symphony Orchestra always gives me great pleasure,” Mr. Fischer said. “This orchestra has an excellent collective spirit and a special care for quality, so I was pleased with the prospect of intensifying our work together.”

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