Met orchestra loses viola player, 60, to Covid-19

Met orchestra loses viola player, 60, to Covid-19


norman lebrecht

April 04, 2020

Violist Vince Lionti was a member of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra from 1987.

His death has been reported online by devastated colleagues.

He would have been 61 this week.

Metropolitan Opera Musicians say:

We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of one of our own. MET Orchestra Musician Vincent Lionti passed away due to complications related to Covid-19. ‘Vinnie’ joined the viola section of the MET Orchestra in 1987 and enjoyed a diverse career as a conductor, educator, and program director as well. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Read Vinnie’s full bio here:


  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of this.

  • Lisa Pike says:

    Vincent was my dear friend. For all of us he was a cherished colleague and exceptional human being. A most profound loss for all whose lives he touched. We are better for having known him.

  • Shlomo Tintpulver says:

    So sad to hear! Condolences to the family and the Orchestra.

  • Fabio Luisi says:

    Such tragic news….. One of the friendliest musicians I knew, committed and serious…. RIP Vince, you will be missed!

  • Bruce says:

    How awful. Condolences to his family and many friends.

  • Harry Marenstein says:

    I played under his baton several times. You couldn’t meet a nicer, more gracious person. My deepest condolences to his family and colleagues.

  • NYMike says:

    His father Vic Lionti was also an educator and principal viola of Westchester County Symphony’s summer series of “Music on the Hudson.”

  • Neal Cary says:

    This is such a sad loss! I went to Juilliard with Vincent, and played in the All-Star Orchestra with him. I always enjoyed our friendly and unpretentious conversations. He was a terrific person and musician, and I’ll miss him.

  • John Holmes says:

    Some lovely Mozart playing here.


  • A mensch and a complete musician, incredibly encouraging to me during my NYC freelance years. This shouldn’t have happened, just devastating. I remember all the times we read chamber music; at the time he was living in a small studio apartment near Lincoln Center, and even his kitchen cabinets were stuffed with scores and parts. We’d read through a Beethoven quartet, and he was so into it: “How lucky we are to have this!” he’d exclaim at the end. And he was right. And that wonderfully positive spirit touched so many: his family, friends, colleagues, students. We’ll miss you, Vinnie.

  • Rafael Enrique Irizarry says:

    Mr. Lionti and I were Fellows at the University of South Carolina’s Conductor’s Institute in the 1990s. He was a top of the line musician, a splendid colleague. Saw him in the pit at the Met several times afterwards. We were both the same age; that is hard. I will never forget him.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Just terrible news.

  • Melinda Schlitt says:

    I am so deeply saddened by this news. Although I have not been in touch with Vinnie for some years, we were exact contemporaries and played together in the Westchester Youth Symphony when his father, Victor, was conductor. Vinnie was always so very kind, enthusiastic, and supportive – and, of course, a first-rate musician. We would often get together to read through the string quartet literature with other friends from the WYS on the weekends, changing locations among our homes – 2 hours reading, break for lunch, 2 more hours. What a fantastic and meaningful time in my life — I will always carry Vinnie’s smile and warmth with me…