Longtime Pacific Symphony musical director Carl St.Clair announced Monday he will continue wielding the conductor’s baton for at least another two years.

The 70-year old St.Clair said the extension of his contract includes an option for additional years, but he has directed the symphony’s board members to begin the process of seeking a replacement.

“In light of this exciting new contract extension and after much soul searching over the past several months, I have asked our Board Chair John Evans to begin a succession plan and to commence a search for my successor,” St.Clair said in his announcement.

“Until the symphony secures a successor who will build upon our artistic achievements and successes, I am committed to continue as music director. There is no specific timetable, and this will afford the board, musicians and staff the appropriate opportunity to assess potential candidates allowing for a seamless transition.”

St.Clair said his 33 years with the symphony “continues to be inspiring, and I feel the embrace of their partnership, love and commitment at every concert. Their passion for music-making and striving for excellence is a constant inspiration. I count our long musical relationship among the greatest blessings of my life and career.”

St.Clair also thanked the symphony’s audiences, subscribers and donors, “who have supported and trusted me as the symphony’s musical leader throughout my long tenure. I have felt the warmth from this community — my community — that I will continue to treasure. I look forward to seeing you in the audience this season and in the coming years ahead.”

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