Boston explains the mystery of the missing concertmaster

Boston explains the mystery of the missing concertmaster


norman lebrecht

February 22, 2019

Malcolm Lowe has been missing from the front seat of Boston Symphony concerts for almost a year.

The orchestra explained today that the veteran violinist, 65, has been suffering from concussion after a near-collision with a cyclist.

No date has been set for his return.

We wish him better.

Lowe, a Canadian, joined the BSO as concertmaster in 1984.

He studied with Ivan Galamian at Curtis and with Sally Thomas and Jaime Laredo.



  • Larry says:

    One wonders why this was kept a secret for a year. Perhaps Mr. Lowe requested that? He is an outstanding concertmaster. We wish him well.

    • Bruce says:

      Often, with something like a concussion, the person keeps feeling like they will be able to return to work soon… only to find that the effects linger longer than anticipated. It probably wasn’t being “kept secret,” but more like “ok, we finally have to acknowledge that this is going to be a longer-term thing than we thought.” That’s my guess, anyway.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Godspeed, Malcolm!

  • Mick the Knife says:

    He got a concussion from a near-collision that put him out for a year? Football players get concussions from an actual collision and play the next week. Something is missing from the explanation given. Perhaps he is retiring.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Perhaps it is the [American] football players who are not doing something right…

    • Smith says:

      Concussions are a difficult to diagnose and often misunderstood injury. I can’t speak to the football players who go back to playing the week after but my own personal experience with a mild concussion left me unable to play for a few months. And I was much younger than Mr. Lowe. Perhaps the tragically high incidence of brain damage symptoms of NFL players speaks to the unhealthy pressure to return to play so early. In any case, it’s good to hear that he is back in the concertmaster chair now.

    • Violist says:

      There are slightly finer skills required in violin playing than in football.