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Dallas Symphony Extends Music Director Fabio Luisi’s Tenure 14

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is extending Fabio Luisi’s contract as music director.

The five-year contract extension comes amid Luisi’s first full season as artistic head of the orchestra. He succeeded longtime director Jaap van Zweden as music director designate in the 2019/20 season.

“I am so very pleased to extend my tenure with the Dallas Symphony and to continue and to grow the relationship with these talented musicians,” Luisi said in a statement. “Though the beginning of my time with the orchestra was different than planned, we continued to make music with passion and conviction. I am proud of the work we have done, and I look forward to sharing our music and our performances with so many.”

Luisi’s vision for his first full season was stifled by the pandemic, but the orchestra has forged on. The DSO is one of the few professional orchestras in the country performing before a live audience during the pandemic.

Still, performances at the Meyerson are currently limited to about an hour in length without intermissions, and in-person attendance is also capped at about 200 patrons in the 1,838-seat hall. Concert-goers are also expected to wear masks.

Members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra perform with masks during a concert in September, 2020. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon, courtesy of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Once larger ensembles can gather again, Luisi plans to conduct another opera-in-concert presentation, following the success of last season’s “Salome” concerts.

“Fabio Luisi comes with a reputation on the world stage, and he has already shown his tremendous impact in Dallas,” said Sanjiv Yajnik, the chairman of the Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors, in a statement. “In spite of this year’s challenges, I have been inspired by his passion and ingenuity. An orchestra creates the soul of a city, and Fabio will continue to play a key part in the cultural fabric of our community.”

The DSO overhauled their current season to showcase smaller ensembles in light of COVID restrictions. Luisi will return to the Meyerson later this month for four weekends of concerts. He and the orchestra will kick things off on January 28 with performances of Bizet’s “Symphony in C” and Saint-Saëns’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” alongside guest pianist Alessandro Taverna.

The orchestra also launched a ten-year commissioning program under Luisi’s leadership. The program’s expected to produce 20 new works with half of those created by women. The latest—composer-in-residence Angélica Negrón’s “En otra noche, en otro mundo”—will premiere on February 4.

“The DSO is thrilled to extend our contract with Fabio—it is a testament to his relationship with the orchestra,” said Kim Noltemy, the DSO’s President and CEO. “The joy of music making is evident in every performance Fabio leads. We look forward to many years of collaborating in the Meyerson Symphony Center, through online performances, with new recordings and on tour.”

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