The cellist's father was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, and Mêªrk wishes to remain near his family in Norway at this difficult time. For the same reason, he withdrew last month from a North American chamber music tour with violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Yefim Bronfman.
The Philadelphia dates were Mêªrk's last scheduled US performances this year.
Alisa Weilerstein, the 24-year-old cellist who won the Leonard Bernstein Award at this summer's Schleswig-Holstein Festival, will make her Philadelphia Orchestra debut on November 24 and 25 (Friday and Saturday), substituting for Mêªrk in the same concerto.
In place of the Shostakovich on Tuesday, November 28, Eschenbach will lead the orchestra from the keyboard in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, K. 488, which is also featured in the following weekend's subscription concerts.
For more information about upcoming Philadelphia Orchestra performances, visit www.philorch.org.