Andris Nelsons, music director for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, has decided not to renew his rolling contract from the end of summer 2015.
Nelsons said: “With an extremely heavy heart I have reached the decision not to continue in my role as music director with my beloved CBSO after the 2014-2015 season.
"I have enjoyed five great seasons with this incredible orchestra and, while I look forward to another two in my current role, this difficult decision comes in view of my new position with the Boston Symphony Orchestra alongside my wish to protect precious time with my young family.”
In 2008, the then relatively unknown Latvian conductor was unanimously invited to be music director by the CBSO’s players, management and board of trustees following a private concert and recording session.
Highlights since his appointment have so far included Wagner’s Lohengrin and the 50th Anniversary performance of Britten’s War Requiem in Coventry Cathedral and several internationally acclaimed recordings.
The current season sees him lead the CBSO on its biggest-ever touring schedule, with 35 overseas concerts in the next 12 months.
CBSO chief executive Stephen Maddock said: “Andris’ decision to step down as music director has not been an easy one.
"He is one of the world’s best conductors, and has recently accepted a second music director role at one of the world’s greatest orchestras, the Boston Symphony.
"While his desire was to do everything that he could, he has to consider his family and his future.
"We will miss his energy and charisma in his leadership role here, we look forward to continuing to work with him regularly after 2015.”
“Andris is one in a line of conducting superstars that have taken the role of music director in the last 35 years.
"Sir Simon Rattle, appointed at just 25 years old, held the post for 18 years before moving to the Berlin Philharmonic.
"He then passed the baton to the superbly talented Sakari Oramo who is now with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
"As Andris heads to the Boston Symphony Orchestra it’s clear to everyone that we have very good taste in music directors and, whilst our search for our next music cirector is only just beginning, you can trust the CBSO to bring another outstanding talent to the podium in Birmingham.”
Bridget Blow, chair of the CBSO trustees, said: “The CBSO has, for many decades, brought the best music, artists and musicians to Birmingham while also acting as a proud ambassador for the city through extensive touring.
"This season alone will be the busiest touring year ever, almost a third of our performances will be abroad in Europe and Asia, which is testament to the quality and reach that the CBSO and Andris have.
"We will make sure that we continue to operate at the highest level as we go forward.”
Nelsons will continue with in his role with the CBSO until summer 2015, with more 90 concerts still to go.
This season, concerts will include the celebration of Richard Strauss’s 150th birthday with Symphonia Domestica, Don Juan,Four Last Songs with soprano Erin Wall, and a concert performance of his Viennese comedy Der Rosenkavalier.
There will also be a number of CD releases.