2. The James Levine era at the BSO
When Seiji Ozawa announced he would retire after 29 years at the helm of the BSO, the orchestras trustees wanted only one man for the job: James Levine. The curly-haired music director of New York's Metropolitan Opera brought a new focus to the BSO and his favorite composers (Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt) to the forefront. His physical ailments have kept him off the podium more than he would have liked, but critics across the country consider todays BSO a stronger musical instrument than the orchestra Levine inherited.