Sicklist: Welser-Möst has hand injury

Sicklist: Welser-Möst has hand injury


norman lebrecht

July 03, 2018

 Franz Welser-Möst has withdrawn from his July 6 and 7 Cleveland concerts due to a bacterial infection in his right hand.

Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor Vinay Parameswaran will conduct the July 6, Star-Spangled Spectacular.  Jahja Ling will conduct the July 7, Blossom Music Festival Opening Concert.



  • John Borstlap says:

    I would love to know which piece caused the infection.

    • anon says:

      As Rousseau said, there are books best read with one hand. Apparently there are also opera scores that are best read with one hand. That’s how he got infected.

  • SDG says:

    Klemperer would have conducted with his right hand, no baton

  • william osborne says:

    Interesting, the above mention of Cleveland’s annual “Star-Spangled Spectacular” concert which programs “classical repertoire, patriotic favorites, Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812’ Overture, and more.” This could be seen as a continuation of the 19th cultural nationalism closely associated with symphony orchestras. No other art form has these associations to such a degree, which in these more cosmopolitan days come across as almost tacky.

    Ironically, we see this spectacle performed by an orchestra that is 98% white for an audience that is 95% white in a city that is 53% black, and only 37% white. And in a city decimated by white flight and Rustbelt economic policies. And in a city where the organization Seeds of Literacy has found that 66% of the people are functionally illiterate (i.e. can’t read at a fourth grade level.) But of course, that’s all the more reason to have a “Star-Spangled Spectacular” and shoot off a couple cannons. Bread and circuses.

    And of course, all hosted by a Fortune 500 bank instead of a public arts funding system like all other developed countries have. But don’t just blame Cleveland. This tackiness is common to most American orchestras, and the vulgarity of plutocracy to all our arts.

    Forgive me if I don’t bother discussing these topics with SD’s Brietbart/Fox News crowd, whose preponderance here is another odd characteristic of classical music.

    • william osborne says:

      That should read: 19th century cultural nationalism. And even though this nationalistic spectacle might have a wider, outdoor concert demogrpahic, it only highlights that the regular audience represents the overwhelmingly white demogrpahic I mention above. For one thing, most of the population of the city could not afford decent seats at regular concerts, and exactly due to our plutocratic funding system. No wonder Franz got an infection in his conducting hand…

    • Taggart says:

      87.3% of statistics are made up on the spot.

      • william osborne says:

        The demographic numbers for Cleveland are from the US Census Bureau, and not unusual for large US cities. The Seeds of Literacy stats are here:

        The racial make-up of the orchestra and its audience is typical for all of America’s top orchestras, and is well-known. Improvement has been extremely slow.

        These numbers stare Americans in the face, but of course the denial and false sense of reality in Trumpistan is rampant.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Sigh…most of the audience does not come from the municipal limits of the city of Cleveland. For your statistics on Black/White to be meaningful, you would have to calculate the proportion of White people within the catchment area of the Cleveland Orchestra, which is wider than the city limits.

          And moreover, just because the Blackness of the non-audience is a salient feature does not mean their lack of participation is a result of their Blackness. If the likely audience are higher income, college educated people without children, then you would need to know the proportion of this potential audience who are Black. For example, Black people near Cleveland may not be attending the concerts because they are poor, have children, or have low education. In which case “outreach” will have little effect.

    • Michael says:

      Way to be a buzzkill. Should we just shut the entire enterprise down?

      • william osborne says:

        Of course not, but the realities of the situation might be considered, the distasteful patriotic smugness of while privilege in classical music in the horribly ironic context of America’s ghettoized Rustbelt. There’s a limit to what we should just accept as normal when it’s not.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          William, no matter how abnormal the situation you are describing really is, I see education and healthcare as critically neglected in the US. This certainly includes music education. These are higher priorities for our tax dollars.

          • william osborne says:

            Sadly, it is a misunderstanding to think these are either-or problems. They all stem from the same systemic flaws of an unmitigated form of capitalism unique to the USA, and the dysfunctional two party system that allows no alternative political thought. Arts funding, health care, and education will all be solved together, and only solved, when we create systemic changes in our political system. Another big problem that will be solved through these changes will be the systematic decimation of our cities.

          • barry guerrero says:

            See what I mean. I don’t fully agree with William, but he puts a heck of an argument.

  • Sue says:

    The infection has obviously gone too far – beyond the hand and up into the armpit, which renders the movement of the arm extremely painful. Should have gone to SpecSavers.