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Conductor James Levine cancels summer appearances due to surgery recovery

June 14, 2010 | 10:37 am

Levine James Levine's ongoing back problems continue to wreak havoc with the maestro's conducting schedule.

On Monday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that Levine is canceling his summer appearances because he needs more time to recover from major back surgery.

Levine, 66, had been scheduled to lead six Boston Symphony concerts and three Tanglewood Music Center programs this summer. He will be replaced by Michael Tilson Thomas, Hans Graf, Christoph von Dohnányi and Johannes Debus.

In a statement, Levine said his doctors "have advised me to err on the side of caution and take the summer off to recuperate more fully from the two back surgeries of this past year. The most important thing is to not risk any delay in my recovery so I can return to good health and my conducting duties at the [Boston Symphony] and the [Metropolitan Opera] this fall without further interruptions." 

The conductor underwent the first operation in the fall, canceling a number of appearances at the Met and the Boston Symphony. In April, he had another operation that required him the withdraw from the remainder of the season.

Levine's health has been a subject of much debate in recent months as the conductor continues to juggle leadership roles at the Met and the Boston Symphony. He is scheduled to lead the Met in its new production of Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle, which begins performances in September.

In 2006, the conductor fell onstage during a performance with the Boston Symphony and had to undergo surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. In 2008, her underwent surgery on one of his kidneys.

-- David Ng

Photo: James Levine. Credit: Michael Dwyer / Associated Press

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