When heart surgery in 2018 forced the conductor Leonard Slatkin to miss the final concerts of his decade-long tenure as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the ensemble turned to an Italian conductor three decades younger, Jader Bignamini, to step in. The players and maestro hit it off. So much so that the orchestra announced on Wednesday that Mr. Bignamini, 43, would become its new music director next season, when he begins a six-year contract. “There was certainly a feeling of ‘amore a prima vista,’ meaning ‘love at first sight,’” Mr. Bignamini said in a statement. Stephen Molina, a bass player who served on the search committee, said that Mr. Bignamini’s “immediate connection to the musicians was unique.”

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