The Seattle Symphony has announced the formation of a search committee, led

The Seattle Symphony has announced the formation of a search committee, led by former first lady Nancy B. Evans, to seek Gerard Schwarz’s replacement when he steps down as music director at the end of the 2010-11 season. There’ll be four SSO players on the 11-member panel, which hopes to make a decision by the end of that season, just about two years off. And Intiman announced the extension of Bartlett Sher’s artistic directorship through the 2010 season–but then that’s it. He’s forgoing directing the company’s July production of Othello to concentrate on the transition to his successor, to be announced next month. Details from both press releases after the jump.Says the SSO:”With regards to possible candidates, Evans indicates that a wide range of talented individuals are being considered for the position. ‘We want to hire the best music director we can find,’ Evans states, ‘so we will be considering a global range of candidates.’

Gerard Schwarz, Seattle Symphony’s Music Director since 1985, announced last fall that he will step down when his current contract expires at the end of the 2010-2011 season. Beginning with the 2011-2012 season, Schwarz will assume the lifetime title of Conductor Laureate and return to conduct the Orchestra for several weeks each season.”Says Intiman:”‘We have developed a multi-year plan for an artistic leadership transition and are looking forward to announcing full details about this next month [says Board President Kim A. Anderson]. Although these are challenging times for everyone, we are excited to move into the future with a team that will include Bart and his eventual successor, as well as Managing Director Brian Colburn and Associate Director Sheila Daniels.’ In order for Sher to focus on Intiman’s future — including the succession plan, a new long-range plan and fundraising — Intiman will bring in the Theatre for a New Audience production of Othello, directed by Arin Arbus, to run on the same dates as Sher’s previously announced staging of the play. ‘Not directing Othello was a difficult decision for me to make,’ said Sher. ‘Ultimately, however, the Board and I decided that it will serve Intiman most effectively for me to focus on our succession plan while giving our audiences the chance to see this production, which is one of the best-received stagings of a Shakespeare play in the last decade.'”