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Paavo Jarvi, 37, will assume the post in September 2001, after signing a four year contract that will have him conduct 12 of the orchestra's 24 subscription concert weekends in his first year and 14 of the 24 in his subsequent years.
Jarvi will take over from Jesus Lopez-Cobos, the orchestra's music director since 1986.
The son of famed Estonian conductor, Neeme Jarvi, director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the younger Jarvi has made guest-conducting debuts with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is also the principal guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England.
An American citizen, Jarvi studied at the Tallinn School of Music until he was 17-years-old when he moved to Philadelphia to study at the Curtis Institute of Music. His brother, Kristjan Jarvi, is the assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and his sister, Maarika Jarvi, is a flutist in Paris.
Jarvi has recorded a number of albums for Virgin Classics and in his new post is expected to draw younger crowds to the 105-year-old orchestra with his energy, excitement and critically acclaimed grasp of core classics and contemporary music.
"We found in Paavo Jarvi a profoundly gifted conductor and passionate music maker, a young American with European roots, and global experience, and a distinctive and refined artist in the classical tradition," said orchestra chairman, Peter Strange.
"We also found a charismatic leader who at 37-years of age has a 21st century viewpoint and the conviction to boldly lead this orchestra to exciting new advances in artistic growth and community engagement."