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Ling offered new contract

Jahja Ling said he has been offered a contract extension as music director by the Florida Orchestra's board of trustees, but he has been too preoccupied with the illness of his wife, Jane, to deal with it.

Mrs. Ling, diagnosed with bone cancer in October, was planning to be with her husband at their house in Tampa for this week's rehearsals and concerts, traveling together from Cleveland, where they have their primary residence and Ling is resident conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Last month, Ling canceled a week leading the Perth, Australia, symphony orchestra, in order to stay at home with his wife.

Ling is represented in contract negotiations by his agent with ICM Artists in Los Angeles, but that has been put on the back burner. "Right now, my No. 1 priority is my wife," he said.