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Levine to miss remainder of BSO season

Posted by Geoff Edgers  March 22, 2010 01:41 PM

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levine2.jpg
[photo credit: Michael J. Lutch]

James Levine, whose tenure as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra has been marked by injuries, will miss the remainder of the BSO's season due to his chronic back problems.



The BSO announced today that Levine, 66, will be replaced in a series of concerts over the next three weeks that were to have been his final performances of the 2009-2010. Levine underwent surgery for a herniated disc last fall, forcing him to miss months at the BSO and the Metropolitan Opera, where he also serves as music director.

He returned to Symphony Hall in January.

“This has been a difficult year for James Levine and we wish him the very best as he works with his doctors towards resolving his ongoing back problems,” said BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe in a statement.

Replacing Levine on the podium will be Jayce Ogren, former assistant conductor of The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, for the BSO’s March 25, 26, and 27 world premiere of Peter Lieberson’s “Songs of Love and Sorrow.” Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos will conduct the BSO’s performances of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” on April 1, 2, and 3 in Symphony Hall and April 5 in Carnegie Hall. The BSO is still looking for a replacement during the third week Levine will miss.

Levine was not available for comment, according to the BSO, nor was his manager, Ronald A. Wilford. Levine, who began as the BSO’s music director six years ago, is the highest paid conductor in the country due to his two high-profile jobs. His combined salary is $3.4 million a year, though he is not paid if he doesn’t take the podium.

Levine was not available for comment, according to the BSO. Ronald A. Wilford, Levine's manager, said it was too early to know what course of treatment Levine would be taking. "He’s in excruciating pain so they’ve got to figure out what to do about it," he said. Levine, who began as the BSO’s music director six years ago, is the highest paid conductor in the country due to his two high-profile jobs. His combined salary is $3.4 million a year, though he is not paid if he doesn’t take the podium.

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