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Culture

American to Head Berlin Philharmonic

Pamela Rosenberg is set to become the new general director of the Berlin Philharmonic after four years as head of the San Francisco Opera. She'll be returning to the country where she's already spent much of her career.

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From opera to orchestra: Pamela Rosenberg

Rosenberg, 60, is expected to assume her new position in August 2006. She will act as a consultant for the Philharmonic from January next year.

"Working with (chief conductor) Simon Rattle will truly be a dream come true, and I am humbled and honored to join the Berlin Philharmonic, which is surely one of the world's finest orchestras," Rosenberg said in a statement.

"I will have the opportunity to immerse myself in the orchestral and chamber music repertoire, both of which are passions of mine -- and to develop and be deeply involved with educational programs, which I've identified as an important goal in my life."

Back to Germany

Rosenberg, a native Californian, has been the general director of San Francisco's opera, the third largest in the United States, since 2001. From 1991 to 200 she was co-head of the Stuttgart State Opera along with Klaus Zehelein. She previously held leading artistic positions at the Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and the Frankfurt Opera.

Last year, Rosenberg announced her desire to return to Europe when her contract came to an end on Dec. 31, 2005, saying she wanted to be closer to her two grown children, who live in Berlin and Frankfurt. She also criticized the financial crisis plaguing American culture institutions, which she said restricted their artistic activities.

Simon Rattle in Berlin

British conductor Sir Simon Rattle

The search for a new general director in Berlin started one and a half years ago. Franz Xaver Ohnesorg had left the position in January 2003, four years before his contract was due to expire.

Simon Rattle (photo, above) welcomed the appointment in a statement, saying that Rosenberg has "so many strengths that, in retrospect, our long search appears to have been justified."

The Berlin Philharmonic is considered by music lovers to be one of the world's best orchestras. Past artistic directors have included such musical greats as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado.

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