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Gustavo Gimeno, music director of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His contract positions the Spanish conductor to remain at the helm of the orchestra through the 2029-30 season.Allan Cabral/Handout

The maestro has passed his audition.

Gustavo Gimeno, previously committed to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as its music director into 2025, has signed a contract that will keep him in that role through the 2029-30 season. The star Spanish conductor began his leadership role with the orchestra during the 2020-21 season, succeeding long-time director Peter Oundjian.

The 46-year-old Gimeno, who made his conductorial debut with the TSO in 2018, has led the country’s leading orchestra through the pandemic and into current centennial-season festivities marked by a recent gala performance with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Still to come is a return to the TSO’s ancestral home (Massey Hall, Feb. 17), and concerts at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

“It is my extreme pleasure to continue to lead this wonderfully refined orchestra,” Gimeno said in a statement. “The special bond that the musicians and I share, and the incredible audiences here in Toronto, have only deepened my love of this great city. I am honoured to be able to guide this remarkable ensemble into the future.”

Toronto Symphony Orchestra music director Gustavo Gimeno, left, signs a contract extension while TSO CEO Mark Williams and Catherine Beck, chair of the board of directors, look on.Allan Cabral/Handout

Gimeno does not live in Toronto. In 2025, he will become music director of the Teatro Real opera house in Madrid, where he currently serves as music director designate. The TSO’s chief executive officer sees Gimeno’s job in Spain as a plus.

“I have a personal belief that some of the greatest conductors I’ve worked with or seen and experienced were great opera conductors,” Mark Williams told The Globe and Mail. “I think that has to do with the fact that in opera you are working with drama.”

The TSO has had its share of drama. Twenty years ago, the orchestra was broke and facing bankruptcy. In 2016, the orchestra was rocked by the sudden departure of chief executive officer Jeff Melanson, who resigned 18 months into a five-year term after allegations of personal and professional impropriety.

It appears the TSO is in better shape today. The orchestra announced in September that it had eliminated an accumulated deficit that had existed for more than four decades. Despite concert cancellations and limited-capacity presentations because of the pandemic, the long-standing deficit was erased thanks to the “steadfast support of many generous donors over the years, transformational bequests, crucial government funding and sound fiscal management,” according to the orchestra.

On the performance side, from all accounts, the TSO’s musicians have meshed well with its maestro. “It became very clear very early on that what Gustavo and the orchestra have is really special,” Williams said. “He’s the right person for this organization.”

Concertmaster Jonathan Crow also endorsed Gimeno. “Under his baton, my fellow musicians and I have never felt more confident in our abilities or prouder of our performances.”

Like most performing arts organizations, the TSO has experienced a change in ticket-purchasing patterns since live presentations have returned in earnest after COVID-related lockdowns. Audiences, skittish because of concert postponements in the past, are waiting until closer to the performance dates to buy seats. “People are in a bit of wait and see, but, overall, attendance is good and it’s getting better,” Williams said. “We’re feeling bullish.”