Medical Setbacks Pull BSO's Levine Out Of Tanglewood

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Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director James Levine will not be taking the podium at Tanglewood this summer.

The announcement comes after BSO's maestro bowed out of the symphony's regular season last March because of herniated discs.

Maestro James Levine, in 2007 (AP)
Maestro James Levine, in 2007 (AP)

Levine underwent 10-hour back surgery in April, and now needs more time than first expected to fully recover.

"My doctors have told me I have made great progress — even beyond their expectation — but have advised me to err on the side of caution," Levine said in a statement.

A complete summer season at Tanglewood without the music director, who was scheduled to lead six performances at the summer music festival, presents a harsh reality for the BSO's managing director, Mark Volpe.

Volpe says he's being forced to consider how long the BSO can carry on without its maestro.

"At this point it's premature to speculate beyond what's already been said but ultimately, we have to work through the reality and hopefully in the next three or four weeks, next two months, whatever, the reality will become more clear," Volpe said.

At that point Volpe said he and Levine will meet to discuss the future. Levine says he hopes to begin conducting again in the fall.

The BSO has found stand-ins for five of the summer's concerts.

This program aired on June 14, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrea Shea Twitter Senior Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.