Ozawa latest in recent spate of conductor cancellations

Posted on: March 9, 2012

Thursday (3/8) on New York classical station WQXR’s website, Brian Wise writes, “If symphony orchestras were baseball teams, this would be a normal fact of the annual March rite known as spring training. But lately the number of veteran orchestra conductors on the disabled list has been notably high … On Wednesday, Seiji Ozawa, Japan’s most famous conductor, canceled all performances for one year, after doctors advised him to rest as he struggles to recover after a battle with cancer, reports the AFP. Ozawa, 76, has been in continued poor health since he underwent surgery for esophageal cancer in 2010 and was treated for a hernia last year. More recently, he has been recovering from bouts of pneumonia. Ozawa is the former music director of the Vienna State Opera and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A week ago, the Boston Symphony announced that Kurt Masur, 84, had withdrawn from conducting Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis due to his ‘current physical condition.’ ” Wise also notes cancellations by Semyon Bychkov and Riccardo Chailly. “The cancellations raise many questions—about whether orchestras can continue to engage their iconic but ailing conductors and what the implications are for both musicians and ticket holders.”

Posted March 9, 2012