James Ames Levine, chief conductor of the Metropolitan Opera for more than 40 years and one of the most influential conductors in the world, died on March 9 in Palm Springs, California, before allegations of sexual harassment ended. He was 77 years old.
His death was confirmed Wednesday morning by Dr. Len Horowitz. The cause was not immediately disclosed, nor did it become clear why the death had not been announced earlier.
After researching Levine for decades after rumors of sexual misconduct, Matt first suspended and then fired in 2018, at the age of 74. Ljin responded to the defamation lawsuit.
Prior to the scandal, Levine was a popular maestro who helped establish the Met, the nation’s largest performing arts organization, expanding his recording and burning his world-class orchestra. And his work was much more than that company. For seven years, since 2004, he has been the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, և in his early seasons, he was highly regarded for reviving that esteemed ensemble, for the contemporary music championship, for ordering great works by live composers.
Levine also served as music director of the Munich Philharmonic for five years (1999-2004). For more than 20 years he was associated with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the music director of the Ravinia Festival.
In his later years as a maestro, he suffered from health crises, including kidney cancer and surgery to restore a rotating fist in 2006. After performing on stage at Boston Symphony Hall. Problems forced Levine to miss weeks, even months. , performances. In March 2011, in the face of reality, he resigned from Boston.
Despite the sharp pause of the Met Opera, it is in that institution that Levin’s musical heritage will be largely defined. He had a 47-year association with the house, where he served in various positions of artistic direction.
Lynn’s association with the Met initially seemed like an ideal match for a musician, an artist. A few weeks before he turned 29, he performed for the first time at Puccini’s Tosca on June 5, 1971, for a party for which he had no rehearsals.
In 1973, Levine was appointed chief conductor of the company, the first person to hold that position. The following year, with the departure of Rafael Kubelik, a short-lived music director, Levine assumed the title, apparently confirming 2552 performances, far more than any other conductor in history. : Creating an extensive video catalog, including some notable Met productions.
His movements were nimble, but never attracting attention. He encouraged the orchestra to look at his face, which radiated with pleasure when things were going well; he sounded the alarm when he called. “Give me a few eyes,” was his frequent request.
In the late 1980s, the Met Met Orchestra was considered one of the best opera ensembles in the world. That was not enough for Levin. He started another series of orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall և transformed the regular chamber music programs with Met musicians into the famous Met Chamber Ensemble.
A skilled and elegant pianist, he established close musical connections with Met performers by performing chamber music with them. Over the years, many critics have begun to view the Met Orchestra as one of the world’s leading symphony ensembles.
Rumors of Levin’s alleged sexual behavior with young men haunted him for decades. Although the media regularly studied the story, nothing concrete came to light until December 2017. In the #MeToo movement, amid a wave of accusations against powerful men, three men appeared in public, accusing Levin of sexually abusing them. The actions were supposed to take place in 1968, when the accusers started claiming that they were teenagers.
Met hired an outside law firm to investigate and suspend Levine pending results. In March 2018, after an investigation, it turned out that Met was calling credible evidence that Levine was involved in “sexual harassment”, the company fired him.
A few days later, Levine sued Met for breach of contract and defamation. The lawsuit alleges that Peter Gelb, a general manager who has been a staunch supporter of Levin since 2006, was “brutally invaded” on charges of lawlessness as “an excuse to end a long, personal campaign to force Lynn.” Evidence that, according to the company, Levine “used his authority and position to catch and abuse artists,” citing examples of behavior he said existed between the 1970s and 1999.
Levine’s lawsuit demanded at least $ 5.8 million. Met was looking for about the same amount of money. The two sides agreed in the summer of 2019, agreeing that Met և its insurer will pay Levine $ 3.5 million.
The Maggio Musicale Festival in Florence, Italy, announced in July 2020 that it would return to the podium next January, but the performances were canceled due to a coronavirus outbreak.
James Ames Lawrence Levine was born on June 23, 1943 in Incinati. His father, Lawrence Levine, named Larry Lee, was the band leader in Los Angeles during the 1930s. He later returned to his hometown of Incin to work in his father’s clothing business. Levine’s mother, formerly Helen Goldstein, was an actress in New York named Helen Golden.
At the age of 2, Levine was picking up melodies on a family piano. Formal classes with Gertrude English began at age 5. Thor John Onson, the conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony, became interested in the young Jim im, who made rapid progress, and celebrated his debut with the band at the age of 10, playing Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
His teacher persuaded his parents to take him to New York for evaluation at the billiard school. Renowned piano teacher Rosina L. heard her play and urged the school dean to offer her a scholarship.
In 1956, Levine left for the Marlborough Festival in Vermont, where he worked with pianist Rudolf Serkin to perform Mozart’s “Così fan tutte”. The following year, he spent the first of 14 summers at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, where he pursued a career as a conductor.
After graduating from high school in 1961, he moved to New York, where he enrolled at Illiard College, where he studied with conductor Jean an Morel. Levine left ill illiard without finishing class.
Levine debuted with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1967, directing Strauss’ Don Juan. While there, he met Sitan Thompson, a young oboist from Detroit who set aside his career to become Levine’s personal assistant and living companion, sharing his Upper West Side apartment in the early 1970s.
In 1966, while still working in Cleveland under the direction of his mentor George Corge Cellie, who was conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra for 24 years, Lynn founded the University District Orchestra, an ensemble of young musicians interested in contemporary music. The following year, he led the band at the premiere of Milton Babbitt’s “Correspondence,” a terribly complex 12-ton piece that won his composer’s overwhelming admiration.
In March 2018, the Boston Globe published a long story of Levine’s years with a student ensemble in Cleveland, compiling nearly two dozen interviews with former student musicians describing an atmosphere of worship around Levine, even though he was not yet older than them. Participants who became known as “Levinites” recalled their mentor’s humiliation, loyalty tests, and even group sex.
Just 15 years after his first Met debut, the role of Levine was officially cast there in 1986, when he became the House’s artistic director, a title he won for a music director in 2004 when he began his tenure with the Boston Symphony.
He is survived by his sister, Jan Annette; His brother, Thomas, died in April.