NEW YORK (AP) _ Lorin Maazel has been chosen to replace German-born Kurt Masur as musical director of the New York Philharmonic, making him the first American to lead the orchestra since Leonard Bernstein left in 1969.

Maazel's four-year contract will begin when Masur leaves at the end of the 2001-02 season. Financial terms have not been determined, said a representative for the orchestra. Maazel is one of the world's highest-paid guest conductors, and Forbes magazine recently reported that Masur earns about $1.5 million a year.

Maazel, who turns 71 in March, is currently director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich. A former child prodigy who made his conducting debut at age 8, Maazel also is an accomplished violinist.

Maazel will become the 24th music director of the 158-year-old orchestra.

``The New York Philharmonic is America's first orchestra, so I consider it a coup that we were able to convince this great American conductor to accept the music directorship,'' Zarin Mehta, the orchestra's executive director, said Monday.

As part of the agreement, Maazel will conduct the Philharmonic for 10 weeks in the first year, and 14 weeks after that, and will lead the orchestra on national and international tours.

``The orchestra is superb, second to none, and New York is truly the world's capital,'' Maazel said in a statement. ``I shall joyfully devote my energies to this music directorship, which allows me to be part of the Philharmonic's future in a city that I love.''

Maazel was a guest conductor for the Philharmonic in November.

Bernstein led the Philharmonic from 1958 to 1969. Between his direction and Masur's, the orchestra was led by George Szell, Pierre Boulez and Zubin Mehta.


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