Ailing maestro remains off podium

Temirkanov, 65, is recovering from flu

January 15, 2004|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director Yuri Temirkanov, still recovering from flu, has canceled another round of appearances with the ensemble. The conductor, who canceled programs last week and this week, will not be on the podium at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall for performances featuring pianist Lang Lang Jan. 22-25.

"We are proceeding on the assumption that he will also not be here for the program Jan. 29-31 with violinist Gidon Kremer," BSO vice president of public relations Gregory Tucker said yesterday, "although that could change. He has been advised by his doctor to continue resting due to the effects of the flu."

Temirkanov, 65, remains at his apartment in St. Petersburg, where he is also music director of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and artistic director of the 11-day International Winter Festival Arts Square, which ended Jan. 7 with a concert by the Morgan State University Choir that he attended.

The conductor began complaining of a sore throat on Dec. 31, but went ahead with his duties as host of the festival's long New Year's Eve gala at the Yusupov Palace. Although he spent some time at a hospital on New Year's Day, Temirkanov resumed a heavy schedule of rehearsals and concerts for the festival on Jan. 2, despite increasing symptoms of the flu.

The conductor seemed remarkably vibrant when on the podium, or leading the applause from the audience at that Morgan Choir performance last week. But offstage, Temirkanov looked pale and haggard. A doctor visited him in his dressing room after a rehearsal on Jan. 4 to monitor his condition.

Coming down with the flu is not the only debilitating situation the conductor has faced this season. He made a grueling three-week tour of Asia with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. During that tour, a fatigued Temirkanov spent a brief period in a Japanese hospital and subsequently gave up smoking.

Following several weeks of guest-conducting in Europe, he returned to Baltimore in November but canceled his first week of concerts in order to undergo an angioplasty to correct a blocked artery. Temirkanov returned to the BSO podium a few days later and led two weeks of concerts in November, showing no signs of physical strain.

As of press time, a replacement conductor for next week's BSO program had not been announced.

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