Abdominal ailment to keep Knussen from Ojai Festival

Times Staff Writer

Health problems have forced British composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, music director of this year's Ojai Music Festival, to cancel his appearances there, artistic director Thomas W. Morris announced Tuesday.

Knussen underwent surgery for an abdominal ailment in London this week but expects to resume his full schedule this summer. His conducting duties at the June 9 to 12 festival will be assumed June 11 by Los Angeles Master Chorale music director Grant Gershon and June 12 by conductor-composer Brad Lubman.

As music director, Knussen planned all the festival repertory. His absence will result in no program changes.

The 59th annual festival will include the Ojai debuts of the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Most, and of pianist Peter Serkin, plus a world premiere June 12 by British composer Jonathan Cole.

Other programs include a concert of music by Percy Grainger and Mauricio Kagel, a joint violin recital by Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil and Los Angeles Philharmonic concertmaster Martin Chalifour, and a performance by the piano duo Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and excerpts from Conlon Nancarrow's "13 Studies for Player Piano."

Knussen also was scheduled to participate in a June 10 symposium on Stravinsky's later years in Los Angeles. Longtime Stravinsky associates Natalie Limonick and Ralph Grierson have been added to the symposium panel.

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