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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Hundreds jump at chance to live in a castle for next to nothing

It’s not every day the opportunity comes up to live in a castle for minimal rent, so when the commune of Meggen advertised for someone to take care of the majestic Meggenhorn castle on the banks of Lake Lucerne, the response was overwhelming.

Hundreds jump at chance to live in a castle for next to nothing
Photo: Dennis Jarvis, Wikimedia Commons

By the closing date, 160 applications for the job of castle keeper had been received, exceeding all expectations, 20 Minuten reported.

The successful candidate will be expected to keep an eye on the castle night and day, but in return they will get to live in a three-room apartment for a low rent.

“We are really amazed to have received so many applications,” the paper quoted commune secretary Daniel Ottiger as saying.

One likely factor was that jobs like this don’t come up very often, Ottiger speculated. But the castle’s amazing location was also a huge draw.

“It’s an absolute dream job, not least because of the view from the apartment,” said the current manager who is retiring after 25 years in the position.

There is plenty for the manager to do: just closing the castle’s 60 shutters, for instance, takes half an hour.

Then there is the reservations calendar to manage as the castle is a popular venue for weddings and events.

The commune is currently wading through the applications, and is expected to decide on who gets the dream job at the end of May.