Illness forces Leighton Smith to bow out of final Colorado Springs Philharmonic concert

Posted on: May 13, 2011

In Friday’s (5/13) Gazette (Colorado Springs), T.D. Mobley-Martinez writes, “It’s the news fans of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic had feared. About a week before music director Lawrence Leighton Smith was to take the podium for his farewell, the philharmonic announced he won’t lead the orchestra in his final concert. … Smith was diagnosed with Binswanger’s Disease in January. Like the better known Alzheimer’s Disease, Binswanger’s causes dementia, with symptoms that include forgetfulness, indecision, slowness in translating thought to action. Rather than a slow decline, though, Binswanger’s typically progresses in unpredictable steps. There is no cure. Replacing Smith has proved challenging to [Executive Director Nathan] Newbrough, who is in final negotiations with the new music director. ‘Their suggestion,’ he said of the Smiths, ‘was “Why don’t you try to get the new guy to fill in for Larry?” … I didn’t think it would work out but it has. So next weekend will be a farewell celebration and also an introduction to the new music director.’ Newbrough won’t reveal which of the six candidates—Leif Bjaland, Shizuo Kuwahara, Viswa Subbaraman, Josep Caballé-Domenech, Ward Stare and Kynan Johns—will walk out onto the stage on May 22.”

Posted May 13, 2011