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Gustavo Dudamel injures himself mid-concert but returns to podium the next day

The conductor injured his neck Thursday evening during Dvorák's Cello Concerto and was replaced by Lionel Bringuier. By Friday morning, however, Dudamel was back. A national tour is still on.

May 08, 2010|By Mark Swed and David Ng, Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel is known for his energetic and indefatigable presence on the classical-music podium.

But on Thursday evening, the 28-year-old Venezuelan conductor's high-impact conducting style apparently caught up with him midway through a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall.


FOR THE RECORD:
Gustavo Dudamel: An article in Saturday's Calendar section about Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel pulling a muscle while conducting Thursday night said that the orchestra's coming national tour ends May 21. The tour ends May 22. —

Dudamel injured his neck during a performance of Dvorák's Cello Concerto, featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic and soloist Alisa Weilerstein. The conductor heard a loud pop and lost sensation in parts of his body during the final movement of the piece, according to Philharmonic President Deborah Borda.

The conductor was able to finish the concerto, but he withdrew from the remainder of the concert and was replaced by associate conductor Lionel Bringuier. A medical consultation later revealed that Dudamel had pulled a muscle in his neck area and he was sent home to recuperate.

By Friday, however, Dudamel was back on the podium conducting a morning concert of the same program, which also includes Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony. The conductor showed virtually no signs of injury and appeared to have full range of motion. He did not address the audience or make any reference to Thursday's incident.

Borda said that the conductor had received the medical all-clear to conduct Friday. She also said Dudamel's withdrawal from the previous evening's concert was based on a doctor's "strongest recommendation."

"As we all know, Gustavo is a remarkably committed musician, and the decision not to conduct was almost as painful as the injury," said Borda. "He hates to disappoint the audience or his orchestra."

On Monday, Dudamel is scheduled to kick off his first national tour with the Philharmonic, beginning in San Francisco. A spokeswoman for the Philharmonic said that the tour and Dudamel's participation in it are still on despite the recent injury.

The tour, which runs through May 21, also includes stops in Phoenix, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Newark, N.J.

The Philharmonic has backup conductors for performances in case of illnesses and other unforeseen events. Bringuier, 23, hails from Nice, France. He joined the orchestra as an assistant conductor in 2007 and has since taken on the role of associate conductor.

mark.swed@latimes.com, david.ng@latimes.com

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