James Conlon to retire as music director from Ravinia Festival

By Kyle Johnson,

James Conlon announced on Tuesday that he will be stepping down as the Ravinia Festival music director next year, when the 2015 summer season comes to a close.

He originally said he would be retiring at the end of the 2014 summer season when his contract with the Highland Park, Illinois-based festival ended, The Chicago Business Journal reports, but he was convinced to stay one more year.

"Everything has its time, and after 11 years I feel it is the moment to pass on this responsibility," Conlon said. "This has been a difficult decision. The work at Ravinia is very meaningful to me, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a supreme orchestra."

He has been a guest conductor for the summer festival since 1977 and was the music director for 11 years.

According to the Los Angeles Times, though he is stepping down from Ravinia, Conlon still has a full plate. He will be with the Los Angeles Opera for another four years after signing a renewal last year. The next season begins on Sept. 13.

He will also continue to be a music director for Cincinnati's May Festival, where he has been for 37 years.

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