Edo de Waart
Edo de Waart. Courtesy San Diego Symphony

The San Diego Symphony announced Thursday that respected Dutch conductor Edo de Waart has been appointed the orchestra’s principal guest conductor.

The popular conductor begins his new role — a first for the symphony — in the 2019-20 season by conducting the orchestra for three to four weeks a year. The initial agreement is for three years.

His new role comes as Venezuelan-born Rafael Payare prepares to take over as music director, with his first concerts this weekend.

“Edo de Waart is without question one of the preeminent conductors of our time,” said Payare. “I believe that his relationship with this orchestra will have an important artistic impact, and I am very happy that he is committed to working with the orchestra every year to enhance and sustain their artistic achievement.”

De Waart has been a popular, featured guest conductor with the symphony during the past five seasons.

“When he first worked with the San Diego Symphony in January 2015 there was an immediate mutual respect,” said Martha Gilmer, CEO of the symphony. “Rafael Payare and I came to the mutual conclusion to affirm this relationship with the title of principal guest conductor.”

De Waart serves as music director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and holds the positions of conductor laureate of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He was previously music director of the San Francisco Symphony,

“It is a privilege to accept this position with San Diego, and such an exciting time to be collaborating with the leadership and artistic team, as well as Rafael Payare,” said de Wart.

He returns to San Diego on March 1 and 2 to conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in a Jacobs Masterworks concert.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.