Levine and Fleisher cancel performances

Both articles are from PLAYBILLARTS.COM

James Levine Cancels This Weekend’s Verbier Festival Appearances
By Matthew Westphal – July 20, 2007

James Levine
photo by Steve J. Sherman

For health reasons, conductor James Levine has withdrawn from his appearances at this summer’s Verbier Festival and Academy in the Swiss Alps. He was scheduled to lead the festival’s opening concert this evening as well as a program on Sunday (July 22) featuring the Mozart Requiem.

Filling in for Levine at both concerts will be Manfred Honeck, who in January was appointed the next music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony and who this fall begins a term as music director of the Stuttgart State Opera.

“It is with great sadness that I have to cancel my two concerts with my wonderful orchestra,” Levine said in a statement released by the festival this week. (He was referring to the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, founded by Levine in 2000 and made up of students at and alumni of the festival’s renowned Academy.) “My doctors have strongly advised me not to travel but to stay calm and collect my energies.”

Levine has been conducting the Boston Symphony at the Tanglewood Music Center this summer, beginning with the orchestra’s first concert of the season there on July 6 and with Mahler’s epic Third Symphony last Saturday (July 14).

BSO spokesperson Bernadette Horgan told PlaybillArts today that Levine is still at Tanglewood, that he is up and about and working with students, and that he plans to conduct all of his scheduled concerts there, including next Saturday’s Verdi Don Carlo (July 28, starring Patricia Racette, Johan Botha and James Morris), Berlioz’s Damnation de Faust (with Marcello Giordani, José van Dam and Yvonne Naef) on August 18, and Boston Symphony concerts on three successive Fridays in August.

She also confirmed that Levine expects to conduct the BSO, as announced, for its European tour from August 26 through September 7, including multiple concerts at the Lucerne Festival and the BBC Proms.

Levine’s health has been a concern to observers for the past few years, as he has struggled with sciatica and intermittent tremors in his left hand and arm. In the spring of 2006, he took a four-month break (the longest of his career) to recover from a torn rotator cuff; when he returned to work that summer (at the opening concert of last year’s Tanglewood Festival), he said that he felt better than he had in years.

Leon Fleisher Withdraws from This Weekend’s Tanglewood Engagement
By Kevin Shihoten – July 20, 2007

Leon Fleisher

Pianist Leon Fleisher has withdrawn from his July 22 engagement with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood because of tenosynovitis, an inflammation of the tendon sheath, in both hands, the orchestra announced today.

Fleisher was to perform Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto. French-Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin will take his place in the same work. The substitution marks Hamelin’s debut with the BSO.

Fleisher’s expected return to the stage will be in Florida on August 2, which coincides with the airing on HBO/Cinemax of Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story, an Academy Award-nominated short documentary.

Tenosynovitis, which causes tendons in the fingers to lock or stick, is a tendon and muscle disorder that affects athletes and musicians.

Fleisher suffered famously from another such disorder, focal dystonia, which struck the pianist in his late thirties, disabling his right hand. Following treatment, he returned to standard piano works in 1982, performing them intermittently thereafter but concentrating on the left-hand repertoire.

From 2004, periodic Botox injections have enabled him to resumed a regular performing career.  Fleisher, who turns 79 on July 23, was Tanglewood’s music director from 1984 to 1997.

 

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