Ward Stare to step down in 2021 as music director of the RPO

May 13, 2019

Credit Suzy Gorman/RPO

Ward Stare will be stepping down from his position as music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at the end of the summer 2021, after seven years.

Stare announced his decision to the board late last week, and to the musicians on Monday. He will continue to lead the orchestra through its upcoming two seasons.

Stare will have led the RPO for seven years, a tenure that only five other music directors in the 97-year history of the Philharmonic have reached.

“We have accomplished so many positive things over the past five years, and I know we will accomplish even more in the next two seasons,” Stare said. “Although I am stating my future intentions now, I am fully focused on the next two seasons of important and creative work with the talented musicians of the RPO.”

When he took the job in 2014, Stare, who is now 36, was the RPO’s youngest-ever music director.

“Orchestras plan ahead, and with this announcement, Ward has given us the time we need to conduct a thoughtful search for his successor,” said RPO Board Chair Ingrid Stanlis. “This will ensure continuity in leadership and artistic vision for this important community asset.”

“We have known since Ward came to the RPO that it was likely his career would eventually take him on to new horizons,” said Curt Long, RPO president and CEO. “His passion for opera, his commitment to the education of young musicians, and his passion around leveraging technology to connect new audiences to music offer him a broad range of enticing opportunities in his future. Although we are saddened by his decision not to renew at the end of his contract, we are excited for the future, both for Ward Stare and for the RPO.”