Bruce Coppock has been in treatment for a rare form of cancer since the fall of 2006. He says doctors at the Mayo Clinic told him last week it had spread.
"This is a very nasty form of cancer with very short life expectancies, which I've now considerably exceeded, which I'm pleased about," Coppock said. "But this was not good news that I got last week. My wife and I always said when this moment came, it would be the time to retire."
Coppock became the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's president and managing director in 1999. Under his leadership, the SPCO replaced its music director with a group of artistic partners and built a new rehearsal and performance facility.
Coppock says his work with the orchestra has been profoundly fulfilling.
"I've had such great partnerships with members of the board, members of the staff, members of the orchestra and members of the community that it's been a lot of fun. And it doesn't feel like work. It feels like missionary work, and that's work of a spiritual nature, and that's by and large what this work has felt like here," said Coppock.
Coppock goes on medical leave July 1.
The SPCO board of directors has formed a search committee to find his successor.