The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo) February 10, 2003 Monday Final Edition

Conductor faces long recovery; Martin Fischer-Dieskau must rest for three months following shoulder surgery

The injury which forced the principal conductor of the Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony, Martin Fischer-Dieskau, to stop conducting during the Concert of Concerti on January 11, is going to prevent him from working for three months.

"I had to undergo a very complicated operation," said Fischer-Dieskau from his home in Berlin. "Not only was my shoulder dislocated, it was broken as well. They had to take a piece of bone out of my hip to repair the damage to my shoulder bone, so it was quite complicated."

Now, not only is Fischer-Dieskau's shoulder out of commission, but also his leg.

"I can't move my leg because of the pain," he said, "and I have to wear that terrible big contraption on my shoulder that replaces the old- fashioned plaster cast. I have to wear that for six weeks, and I can only sleep only on my back. I'm virtually immobile and very uncomfortable, to say the least."

Fischer-Dieskau has consulted three different doctors regarding the time it will take for him to heal completely and be able to resume his career.

"They all say that, in order to recover completely, I must take a three-month pause," he said. "I've been told that if I try to resume conducting any earlier I risk further damage, and this time it would be permanent. I can't take that risk. So it looks as if the earliest I will be back is in May."

The injury has not only interfered with his leadership of the KWS, but also forced Fischer-Dieskau to back out of several other prestigious performances.

"I had to cancel my debut concert with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra," he said, "as well as an opera production in Leipzig in March. I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to conduct the Orchestral Extravaganza, the joint February concert with the KWS and Orchestra London. But Raffi Armenian has agreed to step in, so it will be in good hands.

Always one to make the best out of a bad situation, Fischer-Dieskau is using his convalescence to work on plans for the future of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

"Sometimes unforeseen things happen," he said, "and I'm definitely trying to use the time to make new plans for my orchestra, to push them forward. We're on the phone a lot, talking about the future, and we have so many plans for the orchestra."

Fischer-Dieskau has received many good wishes for his health and speedy recovery.

"I've received very, very nice letters and post cards from so many people," he said, "not only from the members of the orchestra but also from so many kind people from our audiences. I would like to thank them all for their kindness in writing to me. And I am so fortunate to have Caterina, my wonderful wife, who is taking such good care of me."

Raffi Armenian will conduct the combined forces of the Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony and Orchestra London in Orchestral Extravaganza on Feb. 21 and 22, at 8 p.m. at Centre in the Square.

The program includes two monumental works -- Stravinsky's Petruchka and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe, which will also feature the Kitchener Waterloo Philharmonic Chamber Singers.

Copyright 2003 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.

hcurrie@therecord.com

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