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Kurt Masur falls off podium during Tchaikovsky concert, unable to resume

During the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky`s sixth symphony with the Orchestre National de France last night, the conductor Kurt Masur lost his footing and fell off the podium. Masur, who is 84 and has suffered various health issues, was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. The concert was abandoned. We will try to bring you an update on his condition.

The official statement reads: ”He fell while he was conducting the orchestra during the second half of the concert and was rushed to a hospital where he is undergoing tests”.

Here is what one Slipped Disc reader heard on digital radio, in Brazil:

Shortly after bar 230, the performance came to an abrupt halt. The orchestra stopped in mid bar, you could hear a thump and the shriek of horrified audience and/or orchestra members, followed by the unannounced sounds of a Tchaikovsky song from a CD.

It all reminded me very much of the circumstances of Toscanini`s last concert. A couple of minutes later,the announcer said that Maestro Masur had fallen from the podium and was to be rushed to the nearest hospital. Having seen him conduct Schumann Cello Concerto and Bruckner 7 some weeks ago, my wife and I almost sensed this had to happen sooner or later, so frail he seemed at this concert. Nevertheless,it was a shocking experience to listen to this broadcast tonight. We wish Maestro Masur a speedy recovery.

Harold Braun

And here is a French media report.

UPDATE: Latest health bulletin here.

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Comments

  1. Alexandros Rigas says:

    This is exactly how i found out as well. I was listeing in the morning today the live broadcast recorded last night and was alterted by the interruption. Hopefully he will recover, to the degree possible.

    Alex Rigas

  2. Thank God it seems to be not too serious. We all wish Kurt Masur a quick recovery, so he can take up the Sixth where he left it!

  3. Daniel Farber says:

    Let’s hope it’s not serious, though falls for those of advanced age are generally a slippery slope. Perhaps Maestro Masur will consent to conduct seated now. (Chairs, high and low, have, after all, been good enough for Klemperer, Levine, Berglund, and Tate.)

    • “Chairs, high and low, have, after all, been good enough for Klemperer, Levine, Berglund, and Tate.”
      And Karajan — the concert performance I saw/heard in Salzburg in 1981 of Verdi’s Falstaff had Karajan conducting from a chair, from which he’d occasionally rise.

      Dave Royko

      • Harold Braun says:

        Right! And Sir Colin Davis and Andre Previn used chairs too recently.And conductors in the pit often conduct being seated anyway.

  4. Charles L. says:

    Well, I suppose that’s one way of keeping the audience from applauding at the end of the third movement in Tchaik 6!

  5. Michael Wheatley says:

    As with everyone else, I’m very glad Maestro Masur was not seriously injured. That said, I don’t understand why they didn’t finish the performance. Is this not one of the very reasons we hire Assistant Conductors? Why do professional orchestras hire them, pay them to be prepared to step in as needed on any concert, and then almost *never* allow them to do their job.

    When Bruno Walter was suddenly unable to conduct the NY Phil, a young assistant conductor named Leonard Bernstein was given the break which launched one of the most meaningful careers of the last century. And as much as I like and admire Maestro Robertson, it was not necessary to call him in to Cleveland at the last minute when Boulez was unable to conduct. They should have let their very capable assistant Sasha Mäkilä do precisely what he was hired to do.

    Professional orchestras could afford to show a little more backbone and support their own. In my opinion, it’s their responsibility to do so, and they are failing all these young Maestro’s in training by denying them these rare opportunities to prove themselves. Certainly, taking the risk on them would be preferable to sending everyone home early, and short-changing patrons of the concerts for which they’ve purchased tickets.

  6. I hope that maestro Mazur will recover. He is one of my favorite conductors.

  7. Delmar Williams says:

    You can hear this terrible event take place thanks to Radio France’s 30 day archive of almost every concert that they broadcast.

    Let the file download for a while…then right click quickly on the Fast Forward and eventually you’ll get to 1 hour 36 minutes. When I read the story on the WQXR website, I had a feeling that the show would be archived on the Radio France website)
    here’s the audio of the show…
    http://sites.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/_c/php/emission/popupMP3.php?e=80000056&d=440000874

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