Aching Boston Symphony Musicians Ask Levine to Ease Workload

Classic Arts News   Aching Boston Symphony Musicians Ask Levine to Ease Workload
Boston Symphony musicians have asked music director James Levine to shorten programs and reduce rehearsals because of increasing physical strain, the Boston Globe reports.

After meeting with musicians, Levine has agreed to change several programs and to shift rehearsals to different days, according to the paper.

Musicians told the Globe that, like critics and audiences, they are thrilled with Levine's musical leadership in his first season as music director. But with five to seven rehearsals in some weeks, rather than the usual four, musicians began to experience physical problems about two months into the season. Several players have missed performances with injuries, and violist Burton Fine decided to retire in December rather than waiting until the end of the season.

"We had been accustomed over the years to doing two-hour programs," he said. "And [Levine] push the programming to the legal limit under contract, closer to two and a half hours."

Violinist Bonnie Bewick has been suffering from a muscle strain since November. "He's a brilliant musicians, and everything he says is right on," she told the paper. "And he gets the orchestra to really think and listen. But I'm concerned about the schedule and programming.

Among the changes Levine has made are the elimination of a Bach prelude from tonight's concert and of Brahms overtures from two Tanglewood concerts this summer. Next season, the BSO will play Schumann's Symphony No. 4 rather than the longer Symphony No. 2. Levine also said he would stop scheduling extra rehearsals on Mondays, which is traditionally a day off.

In addition, the orchestra has asked Janet Horvath, a Minnesota Orchestra cellist and an expert in preventing musical injuries, to speak

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