It became known yesterday that the contract of Geoffrey Simon, the Balearic Symphony Orchestra's director titular, will not be renewed when it expires in four months time. Mr Simon will thus have held the post for only one year. The decision has been taken by the Foundation which is responsible for running the orchestra on behalf of its three local government sponsors. A statement by the Foundation said that Mr Simon's departure would be a “natural happening” and that efforts would continue to look for a long-term conductor who would “fit with the orchestra's needs”. Geoffrey Simon, a widely experienced conductor with an excellent reputation, took over the orchestra last August when its morale was very low following a year in which the management of the time had chosen to use a series of guest conductors rather than appoint a permanent conductor. Simon has worked hard with evident results to restore the orchestra to health and to build for its future. Although his initial contract was only for one year it had been widely assumed that its renewal would be something of a formality. The decision not to renew it is therefore difficult to understand if musical values are the main consideration. On Thursday evening he conducted a thrilling performance of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique which showed the orchestra to be playing at the top of its form. The contrast with its standard of a year ago was striking. The statement that the Foundation is still looking for Mr Simon's successor is not encouraging; good conductors tend to be in demand and are seldom available at short notice to take on the heavy responsibilities of a director titular.

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