“Mei-Ann Chen, music director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra since 2010, will leave the organization when her contract is up next year,” reports Jon W. Sparks in Friday’s (2/26) Commercial Appeal (Memphis). “ ‘This is bittersweet,’ she said Thursday. ‘I don’t ever want to say goodbye to Memphis, but it’s an opportunity for both the orchestra and me to build on what we have had and to explore even more possibilities.’ Roland Valliere, MSO’s president and CEO, said it was no surprise. … The MSO announced in January of last year that it was deep fiscal trouble, and it cut staff and expenses to survive the 2013-14 season. It drastically reduced offerings for this season, and musicians took a 38 percent pay cut. … [Chen] has been doing an increasing number of guest conducting appearances around the world, including with the Taiwan National Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony … ‘Guest conducting is a segment of my career I’d like to expand on,’ [she said]. …  Valliere said the organization is making progress, with subscriptions up 10 percent this season and single-ticket sales up almost 50 percent. Contributions to the annual fund are also ahead of MSO’s goals.” Chen continues as music director of Chicago Sinfonietta.

Posted February 27, 2015