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May 7, 2010

Gustavo Dudamel bows out of concert due to injury

Sounds like quite a wild night at Walt Disney Hall Thursday.

My old pal David Mermelstein reports on that Gustavo Dudamel withdrew at intermission from a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The wildly, widely acclaimed conductor apparently injured himself during the first half, while leading an account of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with soloist Alisa Weilerstein.

Since the orchestra is about to head off on its first national tour with Dudamel -- the trip includes a much-anticipated stop at the Kennedy Center May 17 for WPAS -- this news is likely to have quite a few folks feeling nervous today.

I've heard of baton-based wounds (quite a few unfortunate conductors have stabbed themselves during a concert), but not

a pulled neck muscle so severe as to cause someone to call it quits for the night.

By the way, the performance did go on in L.A., thanks to the Philharmonic's associate conductor, Lionel Bringuier, who led the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s "Pathétique" (one of the works scheduled to be played in DC). Meanwhile, Dudamel may end up holding back on some of the physicality he's known for on the podium. Chances are, that wouldn't reduce the passion in the music-making one bit.

UPDATE: Since I filked this post, a report has appeared from my colleague at the LA Times about last ngiht's incident.

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:31 AM | | Comments (2)


Somebody should give this kid Max Rudolf's book on conducting - and the kid should take the summer off reading and analyzing it.

Mark Swed & David Ng reported here in the LA Times that "the Dude" was back on the podium the next day. He also has been conducting the LA Phil on tour subsequently, at Davies Hall in SF. Richard Scheinin liked the concert. Joshua Kosman didn't like it.

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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