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Published November 24 2010

F-M symphony conductor to leave at end of season

Bernard Rubenstein is stepping down as conductor/music director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra.

A news release from the FMSO said Rubenstein has informed the board of trustees of his plans to leave his position at the end of the 2011-12 concert season.

“There’s no crisis,” Rubenstein said Thursday in a phone interview from his New Mexico home. Further, the 73-year-old also said there are no health issues.

“I’m ready for a change, and I think it will be healthy for the orchestra to have some new leadership,” he said.

Rubenstein is the orchestra’s fifth music director. This is his ninth season with the orchestra.

“I’ve been at a couple of conducting posts where I’ve stayed 12 years, and I’ve always felt it’s two years too much,” Rubenstein said with a laugh.

“Obviously, we’re sad to see him go,” said FMSO concertmaster Benjamin Sung. “I think he’s been fantastic for the symphony and the community,”

The 2011-12 orchestra season will be titled “Bernie’s Fond Farewell.”

The orchestra will conduct a national search for Rubenstein’s replacement, culminating in a 2012-13 concert season featuring final candidates, with a new music director in place by the fall of 2013, the FMSO release stated.

The FMSO board of trustees has invited Rubenstein to serve as artistic director during the transition period.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734