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(Image courtesy: San Fransisco Classical Voice)

San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Music Director Steps Down

Richard Egarr is stepping down after four seasons in the role, alongside the recent departure of the orchestra’s Executive Director, Courtney Beck


Richard Egarr, 59, announced his departure from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO) after four seasons as music director, effective at the end of 2023/24 season. Egarr has served in the role since 2020.

“Richard has a young family who are based in Amsterdam,” explained PBO board president, Doug Tanner. “[His decision to step down] allows him to spend more time conducting in Europe, closer to his family.”

A committee comprising members of the PBO board, staff, and musicians, is yet to be convened to start the search for a successor.

PBO’s newly appointed Chorale director Valérie Sainte-Agathe will lead the vocal ensemble as Egarr completes his tenure with programs including the PBO’s October season opener.

Under Egarr’s leadership, PBO has toured extensively, received critical praise for its performances, and continued its explorations of later repertoire, including the romantic era and contemporary compositions.

His resignation comes two months after PBO executive director Courtney Beck announced that she was leaving the organization at the end of May. Beck is now executive director of Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

“Sixteen years is a long time to stay at any organization these days, and in my eight years as executive director, I’m deeply proud of the heightened focus on innovation that yielded so much incredible art,” said Beck, according to SFCV.

Until an interim executive director is hired, most of the orchestra’s operations will be overseen by PBO’s general manager, Isaac Bunch.

“Richard’s decision does not impact our 2023–2024 season; it will proceed per our announcement earlier this year,” Bunch stated. “We encourage the Bay Area community to experience these amazing programs and to join us in giving Richard a warm send-off as he concludes his tenure as our music director.”

“I am extremely proud of my time with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and all we have achieved, including finding new ways to communicate during the pandemic and attracting and engaging with new audiences,” said Egarr.

“[Richard] leaves PBO a vitally energized orchestra with many landmark accomplishments,” Tanner added. “We thank Richard for all he has contributed to PBO and wish him all the best.”

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