Incoming Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Andris Nelsons has been forced to cancel his appearance this weekend at Tanglewood because of a freak accident that’s left him with a severe concussion.
Nelsons, struck in the head by a door in Bayreuth, Germany, where he had been conducting, is expected to make a full recovery, but remains in the hospital and has been told by his doctors not to travel by plane. Nelsons, 34, had been scheduled to conduct the Verdi Requiem at Tanglewood Saturday.
Known for his demonstrative approach to the podium, Nelsons has been touted for his youth and physical vitality, in stark contrast to his predecessor as BSO music director, James Levine, whose tenure was hampered by health problems that ultimately forced him to resign.
BSO violist Edward Gazouleas, who was on the music director search committee, scoffed yesterday at the idea that there was any connected between Nelsons’s household accident and Levine’s ill health.
“This is a completely different situation and I don’t believe in curses,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know Andris Nelsons through the search process and I have no doubt he’s going to come roaring back with all the energy he’s shown.”
In a statement, Nelsons said, “Truly, I feel a great sense of sadness at not being able to come to Tanglewood this week to conduct the Verdi Requiem and to spend time amongst our great musical family, including Tanglewood’s wonderfully supportive audience. I will miss you all and am very sorry indeed that this very unfortunate accident prevents me from being there. I am grateful to be receiving the best possible medical attention and am currently resting well. I promise I will recover as soon as possible and very much look forward to coming back in good shape for my performances with the orchestra in October in Boston.”
Mark Volpe, BSO managing director, also commented in the statement, describing how the injury occurred: “Mr. Nelsons was struck in the head by a door that unexpectedly swung open at his residence in Bayreuth, Germany, where he has been conducting at the festival. ... Mr. Nelsons has been strongly advised to take time out of his work schedule and not travel by plane at all at this time. It is therefore with a heavy heart that he is forced to withdraw from his Tanglewood performance.”