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Cancellations , Illnesses Everywhere

  The classical music world is currently experiencing  difficulties caused by the illnesses of a number of distinguished conductors and other performers .  76-year old Seiji Ozawa, former music director of the Boston symphony , is recovering from cancer of the esophagus and has decided to take a year off from conducting ; he has also had a bout with pneumonia .

  As is well-known in the classical music world, James Levine has been suffering from severe back trouble and spinal problems for years , and will be absent from the Metropolitan opera's pit for the first time in 40 years next season . The veteran German maestro Kurt Masur, former music director of the New York Philharmonic, Gewandhaus orchestra of Leipzig, London Philharmonic and French national orchestra of Paris was recently forced to cancel a performance of Beethoven's monumental Missa Solemnis with the Boston symphony recently, and choral conductor John Oliver, who has prepared choruses for concerts for many years in Boston and the Tanglewood festifal , stepped in for him .

   The renowned Canadian operatic tenor Ben Heppner has also been plagued by illness intermittantly and recently had to cancel appearances in one of America's regional opera companies in the role of Captain Ahab in the recent opera Moby ***, by Jake Heggie .

   Other renowned conductors who have been health problems include the distinguished latvian maestro Mariss Jansons ,music director of Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw orchestra and  Munich's Bavarian radio orchestra, and Leonard Slatkin of the Detroit symphony .

  The life of a classical musician is anything but an easy one ; it's extremely strenuous and constant travel around the world is highly stressful . Opera singers have to sing in large opera houses with large orchestra WITHOUT MICROPHONES, unlke pop singers . Conducting is very strenuous aerobic excercize and conductors are prone to ailments such as bursitis from constantly waving their arms around . 

   However , there is always the chance of some promising young conductor , musician or opera singer getting his or her big break by substituting at the last minute . In 1943 , a 25 -year old aspiring conductor who was serving as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic had to step in at the last minute for the eminent German conductor Bruno Walter, who was ailing .  Who was this ? None other than Leonard Bernstein . And the rest was history . 

Posted: Mar 13 2012, 10:50 PM by the horn | with no comments
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