The New York Philharmonic announced Friday that Kurt Masur will continue as its music director through the 2001-2002 season as the orchestra looks for his eventual successor.

"The mark of a strong organization is its ability to look to the future and to manage transition smoothly," Paul Guenther, the Philharmonic's board chairman, said in a statement.Guenther said that Masur, 70, had brought the orchestra up to "an extraordinary level and has made it possible for us to plan for the 21st century."

Masur, the Philharmonic's music director since 1991, earns $1.3 million a year and has been credited with restoring the orchestra's reputation as one of the best in the world.