Retiring the baton

Fort Worth Symphony music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya stepping down

Fort Worth Symphony music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya stepping down

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
Miguel Harth-Bedoya will step down in July 2020. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Miguel Harth-Bedoya will step down as music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at the end of the 2019-2020 season, which will conclude his 20th year as the organization's artistic leader. He then will assume the title of Conductor Laureate of the FWSO and will return to conduct special concerts in upcoming seasons, the FWSO announced on May 10.

“I am so proud of the work the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and I have done together over the last nearly two decades," Harth-Bedoya says in a release. "These 18 years with the FWSO have touched and changed me deeply. Working together with the orchestra toward higher and higher artistic levels — even through the challenges — has been profoundly rewarding. Our musicians’ extraordinary playing constantly inspires me, and because of them I have become a better conductor."

While Harth-Bedoya has not announced what is next for him professionally, he says he believes that the time is right to retire his baton in Fort Worth.

"I believe that after a tenure of 20 seasons, it will be the right time for the orchestra to close a chapter and to begin a new one, exploring new challenges, points of view, opportunities and ideas," he says. "It is the right thing to do for the institution."

Harth-Bedoya began his first season as music director in 2000 and is the orchestra’s eighth artistic leader since it was founded in 1912. Nearly 40 percent of the current orchestra has joined the FWSO since his first season, the organization says. He has been at the helm for live recordings on international labels, has championed new works by contemporary composers, and has helped steer the organization through economic challenges in recent years — including a work stoppage in 2016.

Harth-Bedoya has won an Emmy Award, received two Grammy nominations, and has earned numerous other awards and appointments since 2000. He counts among his proudest accomplishments the FWSO's recent success on an international stage at the Kennedy Center and at a Carnegie Hall performance a decade ago, he says.

“During his time here, he has transformed this institution and the orchestra to ever-increasing levels of artistic achievement," says FWSO board chair Mercedes T. Bass in a release. "We are tremendously proud of Miguel’s many accomplishments, and I have enjoyed working with him during these 20 years."

Bass will head a committee to begin the search for Harth-Bedoya’s successor, FWSO says.