September 29, 2009

Herniated disc sidelines BSO conductor

Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director James Levine has canceled several planned appearances due to immediate unanticipated back surgery for a herniated disc.

Because of Levine's operation he will not be conducting Tuesday or Saturday night at Symphony Hall in Boston, or Thursday at Carnegie Hall in New York, the orchestra said.

BSO Assistant Conductor Shi-Yeon Sung will conduct Tuesday night's performance of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and Mozart's Requiem with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

BSO Assistant Conductors Julian Kuerti and Shi-Yeon Sung will split Saturday's program, which honors Ann Hobson Pilot's 40-year tenure as harpist with the BSO.

All of us at the BSO are disappointed that Maestro Levine will not be able to conduct the Tuesday and Saturday subscription concerts in Boston and opening night at Carnegie Hall, Mark Volpe, BSO managing director, said in a statement. Our thoughts are with Jim and we wish him a speedy recovery so he can soon return to the BSO podium and the glorious music-making for which he is so universally known. We are fortunate at the BSO to have two very talented assistant conductors, Shi-Yeon Sung and Julian Kuerti, who are scheduled to fill in for the two programs to take place in Boston this week. Despite Jim's absence, we remain very excited to open Carnegie Hall's 2009-10 season.