Oboist Izotov leaving CSO for San Francisco Symphony

December 09, 2014
Eugene Izotov will leave the CSO at the end of this season. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

Eugene Izotov will leave the CSO at the end of this season. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

Eugene Izotov is leaving his post as principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to take up the same position with the San Francisco Symphony in the 2015-16 season, the SFS announced Monday morning.

“I am delighted to be joining the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Oboe,” said Izotov in a statement released in San Francisco. “This is a deeply personal decision for me since much of my life is connected to these two great American orchestras and cities.

“As I look forward to making music with maestro Michael Tilson Thomas and my colleagues of the San Francisco Symphony, I know my heart will be filled with wonderful memories of music-making with Chicago Symphony and profound gratitude to maestro Riccardo Muti for his humanity, support, and inspiration.”

“Eugene is one of the great oboe virtuosos in the world,” said Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony in a released statement. “I have enjoyed working with him for over 20 years and am always struck by his profound musicality, elegance, and lyricism. Eugene is a devoted colleague and teacher and I look forward to many years of collaboration.”

Izotov will continue to perform with the CSO for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

The Moscow-born musician has been principal oboe of the CSO since 2005 when he was appointed by Daniel Barenboim. Previously he was principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The Chicago Symphony released no statement, though CSO public relations director Rachelle Roe characterized Izotov’s departure as a “leave of absence”—similar to Mathieu Dufour’s year-long flirtation with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009 before returning to the CSO.

If Izotov does depart for good, he will be the third principal wind player to leave the CSO in the past six months. Bassoonist David McGill took early retirement in June, and flutist Mathieu Dufour left in November to join the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

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