Conductor Kurt Masur Falls Off Podium During Concert

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 07:00 AM

Kurt Masur Kurt Masur (Radio France / Christophe Abramowitz)

Former New York Philharmonic music director Kurt Masur fell off the podium at a concert in Paris on Thursday night as he was leading the Orchestre National de France, a spokeswoman for the orchestra said.

Masur was rushed to a hospital where we underwent tests overnight. A statement on the ONF's Web site says he has made good progress and should be released shortly.

French news outlets report that Masur lost his balance during the third movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 and fell into the space between the stage and the front rows of the audience at the Theatre des Champs-Elysées. A protective guard behind the podium was in place but the maestro slipped sideways, towards the violins and then fell backwards. The concert was cancelled at that point.

The German conductor is 84 years old and suffers from Parkinson's disease.

Masur was music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1991 to 2002. He was music director of the Orchestre National de France from 2002 to 2008 and now serves as its honorary music director. Earlier this year he canceled a performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, citing health reasons.

In a statement Friday, French president Nicolas Sarkozy sent his best wishes, calling the German-born Masur a "legendary musician."

Sarkozy also recalled the conductor's political engagement, and his "historic role" in helping reconciliation between East and West Germany at the time of the Iron Curtain.

With the Associated Press

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Comments [9]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

I studied many of my roles, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini and other composers, with Maestro FAUSTO CLEVA, the opera conductor with the longest career at the Met Opera. He collapsed at the podium after conducting the first 8 measures of the opera version of Orpheus, the Greek hero of mythology, at the Acroplis's 2000 year old, rock-hewn Herodes Anticus Amphitheater, below the Parthenon. At that very time of his demise, there was satellite coverage of the American moon landing on August 6th, 1971. They interrupted to announce that "Fausto Cleva, conductor for 50 years at the Met Opera has succumbed while conducting at the Herodes Atticus arena in Athens, Greece." I was also at the MET OPERA'S La Forza del Destino when Leonard Warren died on stage. My friends Jerome Hines and Mignon Dunn along with Richard Tucker and Renata Tebaldi rounded out a spectacularly cast Forza. Warrren had sung the best he had in years. Such calamities on stage do show that we are all very mortal, very vulnerable under certain circumstances. Mazur, like Leonard Bernstein before him, has a true ecumenical and humanitarian approach to dealing with others. He was staunchly anti-Nazi,
Born and living in Jersey City, NJ I had the distinct advantage of proximity to the Met Opera and the New York City Opera to attend, at minimum cost, two to three times weekly, at standing room, from age 15, performances of a wide rep by major singers whose like simply does not exist today. At age 10 I heard on WNYC a broadcast of the recording of Toscanini's conducting the New York Philharmonic in the Rhine Journey and Funeral Music. This recording was made long, long before his recording with the NBC Symphony. That hearing encouraged me to borrow from our major library in Jersey City, on Jersey Avenue, the piano vocal scores of all the Wagner operas from Der fliegender Hollander to Parsifal and the full orchestra scores of the RING and TRISTAN. I started studying composition, composing, and as an autodidact at that time, singing. Taking at different comfortable octaves, I studied, "sang" all the major male roles, marginalizing the David, Mime, Alberich, Young Sailor, and their peer brothers whose roles did not interest me. MY professional career started at age 17. My study of voice with Friedrich Schorr, Alexander Kipnis, Margarete Matzernauer, Frieda Hempel, Martial Singher, Mack Harrell, John Brownlee and Karin Branzell, all leading singers at the Met Opera before they retired, prepared me for my rep decisions. Schorr, Kipnis and Singher I saw in performances at the Met long before I got to study with them. I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, a Wagnerian heldentenor and an opera composer of "Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare."

Apr. 30 2012 09:02 AM
Delmar Williams from Huntersville, NC

I have gotten to it now. If you copy and paste the above link in to your browser, the audio file will download slowly. Eventually, you can move it over to 1 hour 36 minutes...right at the very climax of the movement...then the orchestra stops, the audience moans...and they go to recorded music. After several minutes.....they come on and say Masur fell ill and was taken to the hospital and the concert was cancelled.

Apr. 27 2012 04:42 PM
Delmar Williams from USA

Here is the audio of that very concert!! I didn't hear it, but it was being broadcast LIVE on the radio when it happened. I haven't gotten to the Tchaikovsky yet.
http://sites.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/_c/php/emission/popupMP3.php?e=80000056&d=440000874

Apr. 27 2012 04:12 PM

'' BOOM!!.....CRASH!!...BOOM!!

Apr. 27 2012 02:54 PM
David from Flushing

Falls can be devasting for the elderly and I hope the Maestro did not suffer serious harm. I was glad to read that the podium had a rear rail as I am aware of several incidents where conductors stepped backward too far. All concert halls should be as prudent even though these do not prevent every accident.

Apr. 27 2012 12:03 PM
Ann Kennedy from Ransomville, New York

Maestro, I hope by time you receive this, you are much better. Thank you for all the sheer joy you brought to my late husband, Marvin I. COHEN and myself. We were subscribers and loved your concerts! May you be healed for all the joy you have brought to so many. Love, Ann Kennefy

Apr. 27 2012 11:13 AM

Maestro Masur is still one of my all-time favorite conductors. What he did to reform the New York Philharmonic is nothing short of remarkable. It is a mark of shame that some of his initiatives such as the reinstallation of a pipe organ in Avery Fisher Hall, the NYPhil's summer usage of the Park Avenue Armory for concerts, etc. did not come to fruition. But while there is life, there is hope and I look forward to his returns to New York with great anticipation. Best wishes and all good luck to Mr. Masur.

Apr. 27 2012 10:41 AM
Jean Collen from Johannesburg, South Africa

I am very sorry to hear about Kurt Masur's recent accident and wish him a speedy recovery.

Apr. 27 2012 10:12 AM
Les Bernstein from Miami, Florida

I join friends family and fans who wish Maestro Masur a very speedy recovery. Reading this item was a terrible shock.

Apr. 27 2012 09:51 AM

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