It’s official. James Levine’s name has been taken off the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s logo, his conducting chairs packed into storage closets. The post-Levine era has begun.
As the BSO, which opens its new season on Friday, sets out on its search for the next music director, questions have been swirling about the process itself and what the public can expect. Conductor searches are, of course, routine in the business, but it’s been a while in Boston. After Seiji Ozawa stepped down from the BSO podium in 2002, the orchestra and Levine essentially knew they wanted to work together, and that “search’’ was more a matter of working out the details between two interested parties. In most practical senses, it’s been - remarkably - almost 40 years since the orchestra ramped up for an industry-wide conductor search, for a successor to William Steinberg, who stepped down in 1972.