PARIS (Reuters) - Celebrated German conductor and former East German dissident Kurt Masur was recovering in hospital on Friday after falling off stage at a Paris concert hall while conducting Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony, France’s National Orchestra (ONF) said.
Masur, 84, who has been music director of the ONF since 2002, fell some 1.5 meters (yards) into the front row of the audience after losing his balance during the performance of the concert at Paris’ Theatre des Champs-Elysees.
A spokeswoman for the orchestra would not say whether the fall was linked to any pre-existing illness.
Masur was taken to the Georges Pompidou hospital in the French capital, where he was found to have sustained no serious injuries. No audience members were hurt in the incident.
“After a reassuring in-depth examination, (Masur) is resting in hospital. He took a few steps this morning and is expected to leave hospital soon,” the ONF said in a statement.
Born in Brieg in Silesia, Germany, now Brzeg in Poland, Masur studied piano, music and conducting in Leipzig before receiving his first orchestral appointment as Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic in 1955.
While head of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, he played a central role in the peaceful protests in Leipzig that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and to German reunification, and attracted worldwide attention for the impact of his leadership.
From 1991 to 2002 he was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, and was later named Music Director Emeritus, only the second after the late Leonard Bernstein.
In 1995 he was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and in 1997 was named Commander of the Legion of Honour in France, a rank which was later upgraded to Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour in 2007.
Reporting By Vicky Buffery, editing by Paul Casciato