The chief conductor of Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons, is to step down at the end of the season after leading the world-famous ensemble for a decade, the RCO announced on Tuesday.
"Today... chief conductor Mariss Jansons informed the musicians and staff members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra that Maestro Jansons will resign his position after the 2014-2015 season," the RCO said in a statement.
Health concerns were believed to be the reason for his departure. Latvian-born Jansons, 71, has already suffered two heart attacks and an official at the RCO told AFP "it's no secret that he has health problems."
"I think the main idea behind his departure is to do fewer things," the official added, asking not to be named.
The exact date of Jansons's last performance has not been determined, the RCO said, adding "the orchestra, management and the chief conductor want to make a point of stating that they are parting on excellent terms and with deep mutual respect."
Chief conductor at the RCO since 2004 and the son of a conductor, Jansons studied the violin in Saint Petersburg before travelling to Vienna and Salzburg to study under world-famous conductors Hans Swarowsky and Herbert von Karajan.
In 1973 he was appointed assistant to Soviet conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and from 1979 to 2000 he was chief conductor at the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
"Maris Jansons has always been able to inspire the orchestra and lead it in great performances. Due to his knowledge, commitment and involvement, he is much loved by both musicians and his audiences," the RCO added.
The RCO has been playing to audiences for the past 125 years, attracting some 250,000 visitors per year. It has recorded more than 1,100 performances on vinyl and CD, the RCO said on its website.