First violinist of the Met is dead

First violinist of the Met is dead


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2014

We have been informed of the death of Sandy (Sandor) Balint, who led the Metropolitan Opera orchestra through the 1980 lockout and helped raise it to its present excellence. More details here.

His wife, Joyce, plays mandolin in the orchestra.

sandy balint

Here’s his bio from the Met musicians’ website:

Sandor Balint was born in Bridgeport, CT and moved with his family to NYC a month later where he grew up in the South Bronx and east Manhattan. He started violin lessons at the age of seven and subsequently entered Music and Art High School. In his third year at Music and Art, at the age of seventeen, he auditioned and won a position with Leonard Bernstein, who was forming the New York City Symphony. With Bernstein’s recommendation, he auditioned for the NYC Opera and Ballet where he stayed until joining the Met in 1956. In 1950 he auditioned for Leopold Stowkowski and was made a permanent member of the RCA Victor Recording Orchestra. Balint made his recital debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1956 and concertised until he was invited to audition for the Met Opera Orchestra in December 1956. He was first elected to the Orchestra Committee in 1959, served in contract signings in 1961, ’66, and ’69. He was elected as chairman for contract negotiations for 1977, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1992, 1995, and 2000.


  • William Safford says:

    I remember hearing Sandor and Joyce perform in church quite a few times when I was a child. It was always a pleasure.