Tuesday, May 29, 2012 | 5:56 p.m.
Two shows into its long-awaited and much-anticipated residency at Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s conductor has informed orchestra officials that he plans to leave after the upcoming season.
In an e-mail sent this morning to the Phil’s Board of Directors, and copied to the LVP Orchestra Players Committee, David Itkin expressed his plans to leave the organization after the Phil’s 2012-2013 season, which begins Oct. 20 with “Masterworks I” and ends May 4 with ”Masterworks V.”
Reached today on the phone, Itkin declined to make any comment for publication on his plans and seemed irritated that his message to Phil officials has become public. A call to L.V. Philharmonic President and CEO Jeri Crawford asking how the orchestra will move forward to find a replacement for Itkin has yet to be returned.
Itkin’s decision, which is not a binding, formal letter of resignation, coincides with a crucial moment in the orchestra’s 14-year history in Las Vegas. The Phil has relocated to Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall from Artemus Ham Hall at UNLV, and tickets for its first two performances this year at the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall were sold out. Tickets to the Phil's premiere at the Smith Center in March were so scarce, scalpers were spotted on the perimeter of the venue.
In his e-mail to officials, Itkin said artistic differences and an absence of institutional transparency weighed in his decision to leave his post, which he assumed in the fall of 2007 after the orchestra conducted a nationwide search to replace former conductor Hal Weller.
Itkin also stated to the Philharmonic board that he was looking forward to the upcoming season, which he plans to fulfill as the orchestra’s music director.
Itkin also serves as the director of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra in Texas and for 17 years ending in 2010 was the music director and conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. He has not relocated to Las Vegas and currently lives in Dallas.