Covid claims widely experienced Met conductor

Covid claims widely experienced Met conductor


norman lebrecht

May 26, 2020

The popular and enterprising conductor Joel Revzen died last night of coronavirus. He was 74.

He joined the conducting staff of the Metropolitan Opera 20 years ago, making a belated debut in April 2017 conducting Eugene Onegin starring Anna Netrebko and Peter Mattei. He was liked and admired by two generations of singers.

Among other posts, he conducted the Minnesota Chorale for a decade, working with both the Minnesota Orchestra and the St Paul Chamber orchestra. He was also Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Classical Tahoe, a festival that drew in musicians from the Met, LA Phil and other leading ensembles.

Two years ago he became music director of the Mayshad Festival in Marrakech, Morocco. From 2003 to 2012, he was artistic director of Arizona Opera. For more than a decade he conducted annually at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg.

He made two recordings with the London Stmphony Orchestra and others with St Paul and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

UPDATE: Colleagues pay tribute


  • Randy Max says:

    In addition to what is mentioned in the article, Joel was also the Dean of the Saint Louis Conservatory from 1974 to 1984, and the teacher of solfège there. His musicianship skills were of the highest level and those of us fortunate enough to be in his classes benefitted greatly from his dedicated approach to teaching ear training. He was admired and liked by all and will be dearly missed.

  • Monsoon says:

    And yet posters at this site continuing to chide ensembles for not resuming concerts…

    • Christophe Vreeland says:

      People need money to live unless of course you Monsoon can afford to financially support any them which you obviously can’t.

      You need to leave these discussions to the men who have more experience like Gelb.

    • Mark says:

      You are a feckless excuse for a human.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. I played in the Arizona Opera Orchestra with him conducting and deeply admired his professionalism, musicianship and calm demeanor. RIP – you will be missed.

  • Joel was an amazing man. It was my privilege to have known him for many years. Everyone loved him. I will miss his generous smile, sense of humor as well as his humbleness.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    One of the most respected and revered conductors covering a wide gamut of repertoire. His legacy will live on strongly and inspiring new generations from his disciples.

  • David J Hyslop says:

    Joel and I knew each other from our times together in St.

    Louis and Minnesota. He was a fine talent and good friend,

    His death is a great loss .

  • Brad Arington says:

    Today’s episode of Performance Today just happens to feature a live performance of Rhapsody in Blue at Classical Tahoe. Joel Revzen conducting with Aldo Lopez-Gavilan on piano. Such a sad loss.

  • Antony walker says:

    Joel was a lovely man, who was passionate about making human connections through/with music. Kind and supportive to all, and blessed with genuine enthusiasm. What a sad day.

  • Richard Troxell says:

    This is just sad. Joel was such a kind and caring man for all of us who worked with him. He had great stories to tell which I loved as we sat around in the green room at the Met, just enjoying each other’s company. What a wonderful man. So talented and great to work with. It’s just sad.

  • Henry Krumholz says:

    50+ years ago my wife and I lived in the same apt building with Joel. A lovely man. We were at his first concert-conducting Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with the Juliard orchestra. Wonderful he accomplished so much. Tragic to be taken by coronavirus.

    • Lynn Barr says:

      Wow! That is an incredible story. I’m sure that Joel’s family and friends would love to see it. There is a Caring Bridge page devoted to him. If you don’t want to, may I put it in the comments?
      We were very close friends of Joel. My husband was best friend’s with him in high school. You are living proof that to know Joel, was to be enriched by him and never forget him!
      We loved your comments!

  • A very sad day indeed. Many great memories working with Joel in various places with Arizona being the last. He was a compassionate musician and artist that taught us all. He will be dearly missed.