Christof Perick, music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since October, 1992, will relinquish the title of music director at the end of the season and become the orchestra's musical and artistic adviser, Perick confirmed Wednesday.
Perick and orchestra executive director Erich Vollmer said that Perick's title change results from the fact that the financially troubled orchestra is paring down the number of concerts it will present in the 1994-95 season.
Since Perick will conduct only four weeks of LACO concerts, Perick said he no longer feels the job warrants the title "music director." Vollmer declined to discuss whether Perick's salary would decrease.
Perick's new title becomes effective after this weekend's Chamber Orchestra concerts, which end the 1993-94 season. He will not be replaced and will continue to assist in making programming decisions and selecting guest artists. Both Perick and Vollmer said the change does not represent a resignation.
"We have no plans to begin a search for a music director," Vollmer said. "He's not resigning to take any other position. He has no intentions to disassociate himself from the orchestra. He just felt that, personally, it was a decision he had to make."
Perick, who also holds two posts in Germany as music director of the State Opera of Hanover and the State Orchestra of Niedersachsen, said that his job under the new title will remain essentially the same, but will be downsized as the orchestra cuts down its performing commitments and trims its operating budget from $2.3 million to $1.6 million.
"My problem is, I started working with this orchestra on a different basis; it was a full season of concerts, as well as a recording and tours," Perick said. "For four programs, you don't really need a music director. There is no reason for me, with all of my international commitments, to be music director. . . . It is just a title.
"The orchestra has the same problems everybody has. At the same time, I am dealing with financial cuts in Germany. They have the same problems, only with a difference--they are government supported, but they have no more money, too."
Vollmer said the orchestra carries a $1-million debt, but has raised $408,000 from corporate and foundation donations in the past four weeks.
Perick said that he will direct four weeks of full-orchestra concerts in the upcoming season, with the orchestra's former music director, Iona Brown, guest-conducting two weeks of Baroque music concerts.
Vollmer said that the orchestra will continue to work with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera and is beginning an outreach series of neighborhood concerts.
"It's really business as usual--just less business," Vollmer said.