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San Francisco Symphony’s Oboist Collapses During Performance
By DANIEL J. WAKIN
The principal oboist of the San Francisco Symphony collapsed in mid-performance of Richard Strauss’ oboe concerto Saturday night and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. An orchestra spokesman, Oliver Theil, said the musician, William Bennett, was standing on stage before the orchestra and performing when he passed out. He said Mr. Bennett, 56, suffered a brain hemorrhage and was in the hospital in “guarded condition” on Sunday. The oboist joined the symphony in 1979 and has been principal since 1987.

In a review of an earlier performance this week, the critic Joshua Kosman, writing in The San Francisco Chronicle, said Mr. Bennett gave “a rare and eloquent rendition” of the work. “Bennett, who last played the piece with the Symphony more than 20 years ago, sounded as virtuosic and forthright as ever,” Mr. Kosman wrote. “He sailed through the technical challenges of the opening movement, and brought limpid purity of tone to the slow movement.”

I had heard about this last night but waited until it was made public. This is very sad and I do pray for a full recovery.

1 Comment

  1. I was fortunate enough to get to see him perform the concerto in its entirety on friday night so i was shocked to hear that he collapsed the following night! When at school yesterday I ran into Linka Lukas (sf symphony flutist) and she said that he is still in a coma and that at this point it doesn’t look to good but they are hoping that it will heal itself while in the coma because where they would need to operate on is too deep inside his head. I really hope he gets through this and has a speedy recovery because i love hearing him play! Best Wishes!