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Jahja Ling Stepping Down At San Diego Symphony

Photo caption: Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony in this undated photo.

Photo credit: San Diego Symphony

Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony in this undated photo.

Jahja Ling, the acclaimed music director of the San Diego Symphony, announced Thursday he plans to leave the organization after the 2016-17 season.

Ling, who joined the symphony in 2004, made the announcement at a meeting with the board of directors, staff and musicians.

"After the 2016-17 season, I look forward to pursuing more international guest conducting, passing on the great musical traditions to the next generation through teaching and continuing with my volunteer work in the Christian mission," Ling said in a statement.

"I am hopeful and confident that the future of this fine orchestra, led by our new CEO Martha Gilmer and supported by our talented administrative staff and committed board of directors, will be bright," he said.

The native of Jakarta, Indonesia, has conducted all of the major symphonies in North America.

Last year, Ling led the symphony at its first-ever concert at Carnegie Hall, which was followed by a tour of China where the orchestra appeared in five concerts in Yantai — San Diego's sister city — Shanghai and Beijing.

Ling has also had a 30-year relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Gilmer said Ling will be given the title of conductor laureate so the San Diego Symphony can continue inviting him back as a guest conductor. She said it was "characteristic of the personal and artistic integrity" of Ling that he gave the symphony time to search for a successor.

Ling's tenure as music director is the longest in the symphony's history.

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