Utah Symphony Drops Pavel Kogan as Principal Guest Conductor

Utah Symphony Drops Pavel Kogan as Principal Guest Conductor

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Russian conductor Pavel Kogan is being dropped as the Utah Symphony's principal guest conductor.

Kogan's contract is not being renewed and his six-year tenure as principal guest conductor will end when he conducts the symphony's concerts on May 28 and 29.

"I am deeply disappointed in what has happened," Kogan said, adding that he is at a loss to explain why his contract wasn't extended.

He said he has a good working and personal relationship with the musicians and he is proud that his concerts tend to sell out Abravanel Hall. "The audience likes what I bring to them, and they come to my concerts," he told the Deseret Morning News.

"Pavel has a lovely following here, although the numbers have dropped as the novelty has worn off," said Anne Ewers, Utah Symphony and Opera CEO.

Ewers said the decision not to continue with Kogan as principal guest conductor was based on conclusions reached by two committees.

"Both the artistic and the executive committees felt that it was long enough, and (music director) Keith (Lockhart) and I agreed," she said.

The Utah Symphony never had a principal guest conductor until Kogan. Ewers said the position was created when Lockhart was appointed music director in 1998.

"The reason the search committee chose both Keith and Pavel was to give audiences two different approaches to concerts," she said.

Elsewhere, the average length of stay for a principal guest conductor is short, Ewers said. "The standard is two to four years. With Pavel, the relationship has run its course. It was good while it lasted, but we need to move on."

Kogan said, "The term can be anywhere from one year to an unlimited number of years. There is no standard. That is an unprofessional explanation."

Ewers said another principal guest conductor eventually will be appointed but not any time soon.

In the future, the principal guest conductor will lead the orchestra only in a limited number of concerts, she said. "It will probably be no more than two or three weeks each season."

Kogan said he does not lack prospects.

"I have my orchestra in Moscow (the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra), and I guest conduct all over to wonderful acclaim," he said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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