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Breaking: James Levine not returning for Beethoven cycle

Posted by Geoff Edgers  October 26, 2009 12:59 PM

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Music Director James Levine will not be able to return by Oct. 30, the Boston Symphony Orchestra reports in a press release. That means the conductor, who recently had back surgery for a herniated disc, will miss the orchestra's entire Beethoven cycle. Lorin Maazel, most recently the music director of the New York Philharmonic, will conduct the BSO from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, including the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth Beethoven symphonies.

Just recently, Levine told the Globe he expected to return for the Oct. 30 concert.

Maazel is also going to conduct the BSO at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 2, which will include the sixth and seventh symphonies. The BSO, in its press release, states that Levine will be back Jan. 28 - his next scheduled appearance in Boston - for a program featuring works by Carter, Berlioz, and Ravel.

More from the press release:

In his first performances with the Boston Symphony since 1973, Mr. Maazel will lead the orchestra in Beethovenís Sixth and Seventh symphonies on October 30 and 31, repeating that program at Carnegie Hall on November 2. Mr. Maazel will also conduct Beethovenís Eighth and Ninth symphonies on November 5, 6, and 7. Soloists for Beethovenís Ninth Symphony include soprano Christine Brewer, contralto Meredith Arwady, tenor Matthew Polenzani, and bass baritone Eike Wilm Schulte; the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, conductor, will also be featured. As previously announced, Julian Kuertiwill conduct Beethovenís Third and Fourth symphonies on October 27 and 29. All of the BSOís Beethoven cycle concerts, October 27-November 7, at Symphony Hall in Boston are sold out, with no tickets remaining for those programs.

levinesmiles.jpg

"It would be a mistake 'to come back before my body is ready.' " -- James Levine, BSO and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra music director (Michele McDonald/ File)

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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