Breaking news: Levine quits Boston

Boston Symphony chief Mark Volpe has announced James Levine’s resignation, effective September. Since he has cancelled the rest of the season, that means effective immediately.

The announcement, a face-saving device, was chanelled by his agent through the supine medium of the New York Times, rather than a more critical and combative Boston press. Here’s Boston’s later version of the story, without access to Levine.
After two years of prevarication, no-one emerges from the episode with much credit.

Levine said: “This has been brewing in my mind for a long time,” he said in a telephone interview. “Each time that I had to cancel because of illness or each time that I arrived and wasn’t my best, I kept thinking we can’t keep this up. This isn’t right for the orchestra or the audience or me.”

Volpe added that the situation was ‘not tenable’.

After two years of prevarication, no-one emerges from the episode with much credit. Levine was indulged by the Boston management while his Machiavellian agent, Ronald Wilford, put together ever more fantastical reasons for his retention. He should have quit two seasons ago when the workload became too arduous, But Levine, who had never had an orchestra to call his own, was determined to go out on a high. Sadly, that ambition was thwarted,

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  • Long overdue – it is a disgrace
    how he and his manager played the Boston sheep for fools .The retaining of Volpe should also
    be looked into for allowing this
    farce to go on so long .

  • It seems unfair under the circumstances to talk about prevarication without offering any specifics. We know that Levine is a great conductor and we know he has had a variety of illnesses, and that he was warmly welcomed in Boston and will be missed. Boston certainly didn’t have to keep him if they didn’t want him. Where are the lies?

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