James Levine

BOSTON — A growth on a kidney removed from conductor James Levine was malignant, but the cancer was caught early and no further treatment is needed, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has said.

Doctors in New York removed the right kidney last week because the growth was causing Levine, the 65-year-old music director of both the BSO and the Metropolitan Opera, pressure and discomfort. The surgery forced him to miss the remainder of the BSO's Tanglewood season.

Levine's brother, Tom Levine, said that doctors found a malignant growth on the kidney, but it was very small and confined.

"Fortunately, because of early detection, it had not spread to the surrounding tissues, blood vessels or lymph nodes. Doctors reported the surgery was completely curative and no further treatment is necessary," Tom Levine said.

He said his brother was relieved by the doctors' report, in good spirits recuperating at home in New York City and looking forward to conducting the opening events of the 2008-09 seasons of the BSO and the Met in September. Levine is expected to recuperate over the next six weeks.

Levine, who conducts while seated on a chair, has had some health problems in recent years. He has sciatica, and in March 2006 he tore his right rotator cuff when he tripped and fell on the stage of Boston's Symphony Hall during ovations that followed a performance.

He has been music director of the BSO since 2004 and music or artistic director of the Met since 1976. He made his Met debut in 1971.