Charles Wadsworth, the director of Spoleto Festival USA's chamber music series for more than 30 years, announced during the festival's last weekend that he will retire in 2009.
The year will mark Wadsworth's 80th birthday and the 50th consecutive season in which he has curated chamber music, beginning with Gian Carlo Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.
"We will miss Charles and look forward to celebrating his birthday and his tremendous artistic contributions," said Paula Edwards, a spokesperson for the American festival.
The announcement came amid an array of signals during the festival suggesting Wadsworth was preparing to step down.
The first was the appointment of Geoff Nuttall
, violinist for the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Spoleto's ensemble in residence for many years, as associate artistic director of the chamber series.
Wadsworth had never required an associate director in all his years of programming the series.
Then came a quote in The Charleston Post and Courier
in which Wadsworth said that Nuttall was a suitable candidate to continue the mission of the chamber music series. In noting this, Wadsworth suggested that he'd been considering retirement
An email to a Spoleto spokesperson asking if Nuttall will be appointed the new director of the chamber music series has not been returned yet.
If that's the case, then Nuttall will have some big and very fashionable shoes to fill
More importantly, he will face the challenge of Wadsworth's cult of personality
[Originally reported](http://spoletobuzz.ccpblogs.com/2008/06/08/wadsworth-to-retire-after-2009-festival-and-80th-birthday/) in the *Charleston City Paper*'s award-winning Spoleto Buzz.