A quick review of 2014 is in order. For all the drama, I believe it was a good year for classical music in San Diego. We’ll start with the organizational bits.
There were significant changes in leadership at the two big institutions. Both the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera lost their CEOs.
At the San Diego Symphony, Ward Gill stepped down from a thriving organization which then went on to hire Martha Gilmer from the Chicago Symphony. In 2014, the San Diego Symphony made their Carnegie Hall debut and toured China with the likes of Lang Lang and Joshua Bell.
Maestro Ling announced that he would be leaving the orchestra and that the 2016/17 season would be his last. The door is still open for Ling to return as a guest conductor emeritus in the future. Maestro Ling has almost completely rebuilt the orchestra he inherited in 2004. Over half of the orchestra has been replaced since then and the 2014 edition is the most brilliant yet.
Over at San Diego Opera, things have changed in a similar manner but with much-different circumstances.
Ian Campbell did not step down from a thriving organization. He tried to shutter a limping and beleaguered institution of his own creation. The 99% went berserk and basically told the 1% (the board and the Campbells) to go jump off Ayers Rock. Some of the board came back around but many are still rooting for the San Diego Opera to fail under its interim leadership.
Karen Keltner, the musical director at San Diego Opera, is also stepping down after 35 years with the company. La Boheme will be the last production she conducts as music director. The door has also been left open for her to return as a guest conductor in the future.
The future looks bright for both the Symphony and the Opera even though they are currently in different financial situations.