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'Incredibly Sad' To Lose BSO Conductor Levine For Remaining Season02:25
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This 2006 file photo shows Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine conducting the symphony on its opening night performance at Tanglewood in Lenox. (AP)
This 2006 file photo shows Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine conducting the symphony on its opening night performance at Tanglewood in Lenox. (AP)

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is losing its music director, James Levine, for the rest of the season. The BSO announced Tuesday that Levine has had to withdraw because of lingering health problems.

When Levine is healthy, he is one of the most admired conductors in the country. Critics praise him for drawing out the very finest from his musicians.

But for the past several years, Levine has piled up a list of daunting physical problems: a torn rotator cuff, cancer in his kidney and two back surgeries. He has missed large chunks of several seasons while he has recuperated, forcing the orchestra to scramble to find last-minute replacements.

"It's very significant and incredibly sad to lose Levine as the conductor," said Lloyd Schwartz, classical music critic at NPR. "It's hard to imagine anyone else in the world being able to conduct on the level that he does."

Schwartz joined Wednesday's Morning Edition to talk more about James Levine's departure.

This program aired on March 2, 2011.

Bob Oakes Twitter Host, Morning Edition
Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.

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