That season will be the 25th in this role, and he will then turn 75 himself. MTT has definitely left a mark on the orchestra, with a string of impressive innovations, including an in-house label to release the orchestra's award-winning recordings (they just released a set of Schumann symphonies); the soundbox nightclub experiment for avant-garde programming, where the audience's openess to new music is heightened with a couple stiff drinks; the American Mavericks festivals with the focus on Ives, Cage, Harrison, and so many other influential composers, informed by his own friendship with guys like Leonard Bernstein or Aaron Copland; the Keeping Score educational project, etc, etc.
MTT discussed his departure with the NY Times, probably because he already chatted with
SFist once before. Fear not, he will still lead the band as "music director laureate" for four weeks a year. What starts now, though, is totally unsubstantiated and idle speculation on who will replace him. Drink a shot every time someone mentions the dazzling Krzysztof Urbanski, who conducted two weeks of program from memory to rave reviews earlier this month.