Conductor Daniel Barenboim yesterday (Feb. 19) revealed that he will step down as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) after his current deal ends at the conclusion of the 2005-06 se

Conductor Daniel Barenboim yesterday (Feb. 19) revealed that he will step down as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) after his current deal ends at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season.

In a statement, the 61-year-old Barenboim says his decision was based in large part on the demands made of conductors working in the United States.

"After much soul-searching and reflection," Barenboim says, "I have come to realize that the position and responsibilities of a music director in America are changing in that they require many non-artistic activities, and I feel I have neither the energy nor the time to fulfill them. It is this consideration that has led to this very difficult decision."

Along with his CSO duties, Barenboim serves as general music director of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and maintains an active performing schedule as a pianist.

Barenboim's career as both a conductor and pianist has long been tied to the city of Chicago. Born in Buenos Aires, he made his recital debut at Chicago's Orchestra Hall at age 15, and made his debut as a piano soloist with the CSO in 1969. He made his conducting debut with the orchestra in 1970. In 1989, he was named music director designate, and took on his current position in 1991.