David Atherton to leave San Diego’s Mainly Mozart after this season

Posted on: June 4, 2013

David Atherton, co-founder and music director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, will leave that post after this season, writes James Chute in Sunday’s (6/2) San Diego Union-Tribune. “Mainly Mozart remains committed to its flagship, ‘all-star’ ensemble, but the institution has expanded the number and type of concerts it presents and broadened its mission to embrace the idea of Mozart as innovator and creator in addition to Mozart as composer. Atherton’s departure, however, apparently has nothing to do with the organization’s ongoing reinvention. Last year, he married [Eleanor Ann] Roth, his longtime companion.… Much of Atherton’s work is in Europe, as are his grandchildren…. When Atherton came to San Diego in 1980 to lead the San Diego Symphony, he was best known as a conductor of contemporary music and opera, having built his early reputation with the London Sinfonietta (which he co-founded in 1967) and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden (where Georg Solti invited him to join the staff in 1968)…. With Mainly Mozart, which he co-founded in 1989 shortly after leaving the symphony, he was looking to create something more intimate, something more akin to chamber music…. Atherton’s biggest artistic challenge with Mainly Mozart was creating a stable, cohesive ensemble out of players who only came together once a year. He recruited one of the most highly regarded U.S. concertmasters, the Cleveland Orchestra’s William Preucil, and he and Preucil identified players who not only were exceptional (and some were Preucil’s former students at the Cleveland Institute of Music), but would commit to the enterprise and come back year after year.” 

Posted June 4, 2013