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In 2004, James Levine became the first American-born music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Levine has received critical praise for revitalizing the quality and repertoire since the beginning of his tenure, including championing contemporary composers.
Since becoming music director, the Boston Symphony has performed 18 world premieres, 12 of them conducted by Levine.
To be able to fund the more challenging and expensive of Levine's musical projects with the orchestra, the orchestra has established an " Artistic Initiative Fund " of about US $ 40 million.
This is in addition to the current endowment of the orchestra, which is the largest of any American orchestra at about US $ 300 million.
On March 2, 2011, Levine announced that he would resign as music director as of September 1, 2011 due to ill health.
The orchestra is now in its second season without an official musical director.

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