THE former first associate concert master of the Hongkong Philharmonic, Mr Marcus Lehmann, yesterday asked the High Court to award him about $2 million damages for tripping over a rolled-up carpet at City Hall. Deputy Judge Yeung heard that Mr Lehmann fell as he was rushing back for the second half of a concert on December 13, 1986, after trying to pacify conductor Maxim Shostakovitch, who was angry with the way the orchestra had played a Brahms symphony in thefirst half. Mr Nicholas Pirie, representing the 42-year-old Mr Lehmann, said his client suffered grave injuries for a violinist. His cervical spine and a nerve in his left arm were damaged. An operation on the arm was needed a month later. Mr Pirie said it was thought those injuries were so serious that he would have to give up playing the violin. A doctor examining Mr Lehmann last month, however, found he had fully recovered. There was no permanent disability nor any loss of earning capacity. He found Mr Lehmann suffered stiffness and tension in his left shoulder in cold weather and after practising for four to five hours, but that was common. Counsel said Mr Lehmann was told on January 19 this year by the Philharmonic's general manager, Mr Stephen Crabtree, that he was no longer required to play with the orchestra. His contract would be honoured until expiry in August. Mr Lehmann will testify that he believes he was sacked because of the current lawsuit and because of the ''political'' relationship between the Philharmonic and the Urban Council. Mr Pirie said there was limited scope for Mr Lehmann to get another comparable job in the territory. His future in the international music world had been affected because he was fired. Mr Lehmann testified that because he was concert master on the evening of the accident, he tried to smooth things over with the conductor during the interval, but was unsuccessful. He went outside to have a cigarette, and tripped over the carpet as he hurried to get back on stage. He said he felt no pain at first, and only as he tuned up did he realise his left arm was numb. His partner suggested he leave, but Mr Lehmann said Shostakovitch was about to come on stage and people could have thought it was a protest against the conductor. Mr Lehmann came to Hongkong in 1979 as principal second violinist and was promoted in 1984 to first associate concert master. In the absence of the concert master, Mr Lehmann said he acted as leader of the orchestra in about 70 per cent of all concerts, although he had never been paid for it. Apart from general damages of around $200,000, he is seeking more than $1 million in special damages for lost increments while sick, a decline in performing engagements and loss of teaching. Mr Lehmann will continue his evidence today. The Urban Council will argue that Mr Lehmann failed to note the carpet and failed to make sufficient safeguards for his own safety and so contributed by his own negligence. Should the council be ordered to pay damages, it will claim indemnity from the Hongkong Philharmonic Orchestra, which, it claims, allowed players to leave double bass cases on the other side of the corridor where Mr Lehmann fell.