Conductor dies during symphony in Lucerne

Internationally known conductor Israel Yinon died in the middle of a symphony concert while directing an orchestra at the Lucerne Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) on Thursday night, concert organizers said.

Yinon, 59, was midway through conducting the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of Central Switzerland in a rendition of Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony when he collapsed, the Neue Luzerner Zeitung reported online on Friday.

The Symphony had reached an instrumental “summit” in the symphonic poem when the concert hall was filled with screams from the orchestra musicians and members of the audience in the front row, the newspaper said.

Yionon had tumbled off the platform and fallen headlong to the ground.

Medical help was sought but by the time an ambulance arrived the conductor was dead, the Neue Luzerner Zeitung said.

The audience was asked to leave the concert hall and the musicians departed from the stage.

The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Hochschule Luzern), which helped organize the concert, confirmed Yinon’s death.

The exact cause of his death was not immediately known.

Various Swiss media noted the cruel irony of the theme of the concert, which was “the healing Alps”.

Yinon, an Israeli initially trained in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, had conducted various European orchestras, including the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and made numerous radio and CD recordings.

Below is a YouTube video in which the conductor talks in English at a Mexican university about his work :

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