An Israeli conductor collapsed and died in the middle of a performance as horrified audience members looked on.

Internationally renowned Israel Yinon, 59, was directing an orchestra at the Lucerne Culture and Convention Centre last night, concert organizers said.

Midway through conducting the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of Central Switzerland in a rendition of Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony, he collapsed and tumbled off the platform headfirst, according to Neue Luzerner Zeitung.

The symphony had reached an instrumental 'summit' when the concert hall was filled with screams from musicians and members of the audience in the front row, the newspaper said.
Yinon was internationally renowned and had conducted the BBC Symphony and Berlin Symphony orchestras

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Yinon was internationally renowned and had conducted the BBC Symphony and Berlin Symphony orchestras

Musicians left the stage and the audience was asked to leave the concert hall.

Marc Reinhardt, a spokesman for Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, whose students were performing, told the Associated Press an audience member tried to save Yinon, but he died in the ambulance on his way to a hospital.

He had no details on what led the conductor to collapse and it is not yet known what caused his death.

The theme of the concert was 'the healing Alps' which, as various Swiss media noted, was a cruel irony given how events unfolded.

Yinon had previously conducted the BBC Symphony and Berlin Symphony orchestras, and various others across Europe, making numerous CD recordings.

He was initially trained in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Yinon had previously led the students of the Jungen Philharmonie Zentralschweiz orchestra in concerts in 2009 and 2012.

The school said they lost 'not only a highly regarded musical colleague and sensitive educator, but a big-hearted friend.'