Injured conductor Riccardo Muti to miss Chicago residency

CHICAGO Tue Feb 8, 2011 5:53pm EST

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Conductor Riccardo Muti had his broken jaw wired shut and is undergoing tests for an unexplained fainting spell, forcing him to skip his remaining Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts this month, a symphony spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The renowned Italian conductor, 69, who was named the symphony's music director a year ago, has been in a hospital since Thursday when he fell from his podium onto the stage during rehearsal, breaking facial bones and gashing his chin.

Muti will miss the remainder of his three-week February residency at the Chicago orchestra, according to a statement from the symphony.

In October, an illness caused him to miss two weeks of his initial four-week Chicago residency when he suffered abdominal pain caused by exhaustion and returned home to Italy.

In published interviews prior to last week, Muti had pronounced himself fit.

Surgeons on Monday wired shut Muti's jaw and inserted permanent plates into his jaw and cheekbone to promote healing, which will take at least three weeks, a symphony spokeswoman said.

Doctors are also performing tests to try to figure out why he fainted.

Substitute conductors stepped in for Muti at last week's concerts. Guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda, who made his debut with the Chicago symphony last season, will take the baton for three concerts later this week, with changes to the program.

Muti is scheduled to be back with the Chicago symphony in April for two weeks, which includes planned New York concerts at Carnegie Hall April 15-17. Another two-week residency in Chicago is set for May.

(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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