Conducting titles at the world's top orchestras are often convoluted and mystifying. In the case of Sweden's Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, a newly announced leadership change is baffling even by classical standards.
For five years, Gustavo Dudamel has led the Gothenburg Symphony as its principal conductor. With his term set to expire this year, the orchestra said on Thursday that Dudamel is stepping down from that position and is assuming the role of "honorary conductor."
The orchestra said it has named Kent Nagano as principal guest conductor and artistic advisor. Nagano's role as artistic advisor begins immediately, said the orchestra. The former L.A. Opera music director is expected to spend six to seven weeks a season at the Gothenburg Symphony as principal guest conductor.
Nagano's tenure will be for three years, the orchestra said.
It remains unclear if Nagano is technically succeeding Dudamel at Gothenburg. Nagano's "guest conductor" title, plus his shorter contract, suggests that he will carry less responsibility than Dudamel.