Updated: January 17, 2013 10:38PM
Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti, who canceled his winter residency due to the flu, will not be able to lead the CSO on its upcoming tour of Asia, the CSO Association announced Thursday night.
Substituting for Muti on the two-week tour, which begins Jan. 25 in Taipei, Taiwan, will be Lorin Maazel, music director of the Munich Philharmonic, who will lead CSO concerts in Hong Kong, China and Korea. The conductor for dates in Taiwan will be announced later this weekend.
Muti was forced to drop out of the tour when his doctors in Italy diagnosed him with an inguinal hernia, which requires immediate surgical treatment. To delay the surgery until after the tour could lead to complications, his doctors told him.
“I feel very sad, frustrated and upset to leave my wonderful musicians and audiences in Chicago and on this very important tour that I was expecting with great anticipation,” Muti said in a statement. “I look forward to returning to Chicago in April when we can once again make beautiful music together.”
Suffering from the flu, Muti flew home to Italy last week but hoped to recover in time to lead the CSO on tour. The hernia was discovered when he sought medical treatment in Italy.
“The thoughts and good wishes of the entire CSO family are with our beloved Maestro Muti as he undergoes surgery,” said CSO president Deborah Rutter in a statement. “Naturally, we are disappointed that he was not able to lead the orchestra here in Chicago and will be unable to join us on our tour beginning next week. However, we completely understand that this is a health situation beyond his control and eagerly await his return to Chicago in April.”
This development marks the latest in a series of health-related cancellations for Muti, 71, since he became the CSO’s music director in the fall of 2010.