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Los Angeles Philharmonic hit by string of artist cancellations

March 14, 2011 | 10:57 am

Dudamel

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has lined up an impressive array of performers and world-premiere compositions to close out the remaining months of the current season. But a string of artist cancellations in recent days means that the orchestra has had to scramble to replace some of those marquee names.

Pianist Martha Argerich was scheduled to perform four concerts with conductor Gustavo Dudamel starting Thursday. But the Argentine pianist has withdrawn from all of the performances for unspecified reasons. The orchestra said she will be replaced by pianist Jeremy Denk. Argerich is one of the world's top concert pianists, but she has a history of nixing appearances at the last minute.

The L.A. Philharmonic had scheduled two world-premiere compositions to be performed as part of its series this spring devoted to Brahms. But both of those pieces have failed to come through in time.

Composer Peter Lieberson was commissioned to write a new percussion concerto that was scheduled to debut on May 26. But the piece isn't finished, due to the composer's ongoing health problems. The orchestra is replacing it with Gorecki's Symphony No. 3. Lieberson has been fighting an ongoing battle with lymphoma.

Composer Osvaldo Golijov was supposed to debut his new violin concerto, also an L.A. Philharmonic commission, on May 5. But the Argentine composer will not have finished the piece in time for the concert, and it will be replaced by Henri Dutilleux’s "L'arbre des songes." The scheduled violin soloist, Leonidas Kavakos, will perform the work by Dutilleux.

This marks Golijov's second major cancellation with the L.A. Philharmonic in two years. The composer withdrew his new song cycle from last year's schedule because it wasn't ready in time for the March 2010 recital.

Earlier this month, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the L.A. Philharmonic's former music director, pulled a new piano piece, titled "Humoreske," from a recital featuring Yefim Bronfman. The orchestra said the piece wasn't ready in time for its March 9 debut at Disney Hall.

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-- David Ng

Photo (top): Gustavo Dudamel, conducting the L.A. Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Photo (bottom): Dudamel, backstage at Disney Hall. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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