Andris Nelsons forced to cancel Tanglewood appearance due to concussion


LENOX - In what Boston Symphony Managing Director Mark Volpe called "a stroke of bad luck," incoming Music Director Andris Nelsons has been forced to cancel his first concert appearance at Tanglewood this Saturday since he was named to the post in May.

The conductor, 34, suffered a severe concussion over the weekend at a home in Bayreuth, Germany, where he was staying while leading performances at the annual festival dedicated to the operas of Richard Wagner.

"But he's young, energetic, and he's expected to make a full recovery," said Volpe in an interview from his office on the Tanglewood campus late Monday.

Artistic Administrator Tony Fogg and Volpe are scrambling to line up a replacement conductor for the widely heralded performance of Verdi's Requiem. In order to honor her commitment and represent the family, soprano Kristine Opolais, Nelsons' wife, is expected to appear as scheduled for the concert Saturday evening, Volpe said, since she's confident about his progress.

First word of the accident reached him Sunday evening, Volpe said. By Monday morning, he explained, "we heard it was more serious than we originally thought a pretty severe concussion."

Nelsons was struck in the head by a door that unexpectedly swung over, Volpe explained, and was hospitalized in Bayreuth.

As usual for head trauma patients, Nelsons was initially treated in the intensive-care unit, Volpe added.

"He's making progress but doctors want to watch him for a few days," he said.

Air travel is out of the question for the time being.

"It's a bump in the road," Volpe went on, "but we'll be seeing him in Boston as scheduled in October."

Nelsons is scheduled to conduct a weekend series with the BSO at Symphony Hall Oct. 17-19 and return the following March.

Volpe noted that Nelsons plans to conduct two BSO weekends at Tanglewood next summer, including an appearance with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra of advanced young professionals.

The Latvian-born maestro had been due to arrive in Lenox on Tuesday for a packed schedule of rehearsals, media interviews, and a Q&A session with orchestra donors.

Volpe said in his formal statement that Nelsons withdrew "with a heavy heart though this is disappointing news to all of us at the BSO, as well as to the orchestra's many supporters, we have every expectation that Mr. Nelsons will recover as quickly as possible. Our thoughts are with Mr. Nelsons during this time of healing and recovery."

Nelsons also issued a statement expressing "a great sense of sadness at not being able to come to Tanglewood this week to conduct the Verdi Requiem and to spend time amongst our great musical family, including Tanglewood's wonderfully supportive audience."

"I will miss you all and am very sorry indeed that this very unfortunate accident prevents me from being there," he continued. "I am grateful to be receiving the best possible medical attention and am currently resting well. I promise I will recover as soon as possible and very much look forward to coming back in good shape for my performances with the orchestra in October in Boston."

Nelsons becomes "music director designate" in September and takes over officially as the BSO's music director for the 2014-15 season.

To contact Clarence Fanto: or (413) 637-2551. On Twitter: @BE_CFanto


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