Horror: International conductor drops dead in mid-symphony

Horror: International conductor drops dead in mid-symphony


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2015

We are devastated to report the death of Israel Yinon, the Israeli-born conductor, while conducting a concert in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Yinon, 59, collapsed last night while conducting Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony with a Swiss youth orchestra.

He fell headlong to the ground, amid cries from musicians and audience. His partner, Amari Barash, who was playing oboe in the orchestra, rushed forward and talked to him while medics fought to save his life. ‘We had a brief conversation and he continued to maintain eye contact with me as medical personnel attempted to rescue him,’ writes Amari to Slipped Disc. Tragically, Israel died where he fell.

More here. A partner’s lament here.

yisrael yinon

Daughter’s tribute here.


  • Michael Haas says:

    What a terrible loss. I worked with Israel and valued his intelligence and musicianship. His recordings of Karel Rathaus, Viktor Ullmann, Pavel Haas, Erwin Schulhoff and even Heinz Tiessen and Eduard Erdmann must stand as testimony to a musical personality who looked beyond the upheavals of politics that robbed all of These Composers of the prominence they deserved.

  • Stephen says:

    Without wishing to sound unduly flippant, I can’t think of a better death for a musician.

  • Ignacio Martínez-Ybor says:

    Reminded me that speedster pianist Simon Barrere died in Carnegie Hall with the opening of the Grieg concerto under Ormandy with his Philadelphians.

    • Mark Mortimer says:

      Yes Ignacio you right about Barere. He had cerebral haemorrage. Amazing pianist- probably the fastest fingers in human history.

  • adriano says:

    The great Joseph Keilberth died in 1968, during his conducting of a Munich “Tristan und Isolde”- his favorite opera. I admired Israel Yinon very much, this not only because he fighted for unusual repertoire (including works by Jewish composers who died under the Nazi regime), but also because he was a higly sensitive musician. A bit grotesque is that he had to pass away performing a work by Richard Strauss, who was president of Hitler’s Reichsmusikkammer from 1933 till 1935. However, it seems that Strauss was politically naive, as many other musicians in those difficult years. Still, he composed a pompous “Festliches Präludium” for the 1938 Reichsmusiktage in Düsseldorf, a work which he even himself condcted at this occasion…
    (My regards to Michael Haas).

  • adriano says:

    What I wrote, I just found out to be also stated in the book “Composers of the Nazi Era” by Michael Kater. But there is more: Strauss’ “Festmusik der Stadt Wien” (for brass and timpani) was composed for the celebrations of the fifth anniversary of the annexion of Austria to the Reich… And can you believe that no other than Christian Thielemann performed both works in a 1911 concert (including Strauss’ songs with Thomas Hampson and Renée Fleming) – which was responded by a booing-concert by the audience. Who else would have dared to provoke in this way! It is known that Thielemann is not politically naive…

  • adriano says:

    Oh dear, the date of Thielemann’s concert is, of course 2011 🙂