Contract of Utah Symphony's Associate Conductor Will Not Be Renewed

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Scott O'Neil has been told his contract as associate conductor of the Utah Symphony will not be renewed.

"It's a little rough," said O'Neil, who has held the job for six years. "Imagine ... you finally know how to do the job, but then they expect you to leave."

However, he said his stay was longer than average for the industry.

Utah Symphony and Opera officials gave no reason for the decision but said in a statement that O'Neil "will likely have a continuing relationship with the Utah Symphony in an as-yet-undecided capacity."

O'Neil and the US&O hope he will return in 2007 for "Bach Alive," the third installment in a children's series he spearheaded.

"Scott O'Neil has brought genuine passion and a wealth of ideas to his work with the Utah Symphony," Music Director Keith Lockhart said Thursday. "His creative devotion to our family programs will be one of the fondest memories of his time here and we are all anxious to see where his career will take him next."

O'Neil conducts more than 100 concerts a year, which he said is more than any other associate conductor with a similar orchestra in the country.

A search committee will be formed in the coming months to find a replacement.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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