Lawrence Leighton Smith bowing out of farewell concert

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The Colorado Springs Philharmonic has announced this morning that, due to health concerns, Lawrence Leighton Smith will not be able to conduct the farewell performances that are scheduled for May 21 and 22.

Instead, the music director's as-yet-unannounced successor will be serving as conductor. We'll be reporting additional info as the situation develops, but in the meantime, here's the Philharmonic's announcement:


BREAKING NEWS — IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Due to unforeseen circumstances pertaining to Lawrence Leighton Smith’s ongoing health, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic regrets to announce that Maestro Smith will be unable to conduct the May 21-22 El Pomar Foundation Masterworks concerts. Smith will be in attendance at the concerts, as well as at the Celebration Gala being thrown in his honor on May 20.

At Maestro Smith’s suggestion, the Philharmonic is pleased to announce that after a two-year search and more than 250 applicants, a new music director has been selected, and that individual will be conducting Smith’s selections for the Farewell Concerts. The identity of the new music director will be revealed at the Saturday concert.

Maestro Smith’s first-half selection for the performances is Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, an epic work depicting Dante’s fated lovers from Inferno. Swirling into darkness and despair, Tchaikovsky’s tormented work descends into hell and the twisted fate of the love-struck duo, ending with a terrifying picture of rage and murderous jealousy and the lovers’ end. It is one of his most powerful works.

Frequently berated by critics for his early works, Anton Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony was a break-through work for the composer, considered among the most powerfully optimistic and beautifully rapturous musical statements ever written. It is his most popular work. In contrast to Tchaikovsky’s dark work in the first half, the Seventh begins with a dream sequence that opens into a hugely optimistic apotheosis of orchestral brilliance.

The Colorado Springs Philharmonic is pleased to announce that the Mayor and City Council of Colorado Springs have declared May 21-22 “Lawrence Leighton Smith Days,” in honor of Smith’s many musical accomplishments in Colorado Springs and around the world.

In addition to the performances of the Farewell Concert, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic presents a Gala event in honor of Lawrence Leighton Smith on May 20. Tickets are sold out for this celebration of Smith’s life and works.

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