R.I.P 〓 James Levine, American conductor

2021/03/18

US conductor James Levine died on March 9 in Palm Spring. He was 77 years old. The attending physician has not revealed the cause of death.

He was one of the leading post-war conductors and has been the music and artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York since the 1970s for forty years.

He has developed Parkinson’s disease since the mid-1990s. He also had his right kidney removed, where a malignant tumor was found in 2008, and had multiple disc surgeries.

He was born in a Jewish family in Cincinnati, USA. His father is a violinist and dance band leader, and his mother is an actress.

After graduating from The Juilliard School, he made his debut in 1970 with the Philadelphia Orchestra after serving as an assistant to George Szell at the Cleveland Orchestra.

He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1971, and was appointed music director in 1975 and artistic director in 1986 following his great success.

He continued to conduct as an honorary music director after he retired at the end of the 2015/2016 season due to worsening Parkinson’s disease.

However, in March 2018, he was dismissed for sexual harassment of past male musicians. After that, a settlement was reached with the opera house for $ 3.5 million in August 2019, before the trial began.

Meanwhile, he has also served as Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (1999-2004) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (2004-2011).

He is closely associated with music festivals, he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in Austria in 1975 and conducting the 100th anniversary performance of Wagner Parsifal in 1982 at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany.

He was also a regular at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and was the music director of the Lavinia Music Festival in Chicago and the May Music Festival in Cincinnati.

After being dismissed from the Metropolitan Opera, he was away from conducting, but it was decided to conduct a concert at the Florence Opera in mid-January 2021. However, the performance was canceled because the new coronavirus did not converge, and he could not return to the podium.

In June, he was also scheduled to stand on the podium of the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Photo:Metropolitan Opera / Steve J. Sherman





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