The problem: Recurring arm tendinitis — and he's getting off easy compared to colleagues such as Lang Lang.
Significant health worries are hard to imagine. His Facebook page often looks like an exercise video. But among classical musicians, no one's robustness is a guarantee.
For Wednesday's Carnegie Hall opening, Lang Lang will perform despite right-arm inflammation in a two-piano version of Rhapsody in Blue with Chick Corea. Lang Lang's 14-year-old protege, Maxim Lando, will handle his right-arm duties.
The price of ignoring injuries was exemplified recently by 53-year-old conductor Gianandrea Noseda, a frequent Philadelphia visitor who is now leading Washington's National Symphony Orchestra: He had emergency surgery in June for a herniated disk, and, according to the Washington Post, is doing physical-therapy exercises in his dressing room.
At New York's Metropolitan Opera, where he's music director designate, he's planning to take days off between some performances of the five-hour-plus Parsifal (Feb. 5 to 27, 2018). "I have down time to study," he said, "and not be like a wheel and a hamster."
He will have two doubleheaders on March 9 and 17, conducting Strauss' formidable Elektra at the Met in the afternoon and the Philadelphia Orchestra in the evening, the March 9 concert including Michel van der Aa's acclaimed but still unfamiliar 2014 Violin Concerto.