James Levine, artistic director of the New York Metropolitan Opera, has been named the new music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), becoming the first American to hold the post in the orchestra's 120-year history. Levine replaces Seiji Ozawa, who has led the BSO for 28 years and will become the music director of the Vienna State Opera in fall 2002.
Levine will be shuttling back and forth — he recently renewed and extended his contract with the Met through the 2008 season; he is expected to take up the BSO baton for the 2003-2004 season.
According to the BSO, Levine will lead the orchestra about 12 weeks of its 23-week subscription season. He also will conduct at least three weeks at the BSO's summer home, Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass.
The Met, which approved of Levine's appointment to Boston, said he would maintain his 23-week-a-year commitment to conduct at least 50 opera performances. At the end of the 2004 season, his title will be downgraded slightly to music director.