Rachleff to step down from Chicago Philharmonic

Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 2:13 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Larry Rachleff will step down as music director of the Chicago Philharmonic in May after serving for 23 years.

Though in recent years he’s only led one of the ensemble’s four orchestra concerts each season, Rachleff’s guiding hand and firm musical direction clearly got the ensemble off to a glowing start in its early years when it was called Symphony II.

“It has been a true honor to lead the gifted people of the Chicago Philharmonic,” said Rachleff in a statement released by the orchestra, adding that his increased responsibilities elsewhere have made his annual Chicago Philharmonic concerts difficult. “Nevertheless, it has been a privilege to be part of this wonderful orchestra for so many years.”

Rachleff has also served as music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic for 17 season, as well as music director of Rice University’s Shepherd School Orchestras for 21 years.

“It is impossible to believe that the Chicago Philharmonic could be in the formidable and enviable position it is today without the caring oversight which Maestro Rachleff has nurtured,” said Jim Berkenstock, a founder of the Philharmonic.

Rachleff’s final performance as the orchestra’s music director will take place May 24 when he leads the Chicago Philharmonic in Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony and Schubert’s “Great” C major symphony at Pick-Staiger Hall. He will then assume the title of music director emeritus. chicagophilharmonic.org.

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