Met musicians mourn principal 2nd violin, 62

Met musicians mourn principal 2nd violin, 62


norman lebrecht

December 18, 2021

The unexpected death of Shirien Taylor-Donahue has left the Met orchestra grief-stricken.

Shirien was principal second violin from July 1987 to May 2016. She was married to Met Master Electrician Paul Donahue.

Her colleague Caterina Szepes writes: We cried on each other’s shoulders during difficult times and laughed tears countless other times when things were good; and things were good most of the time when you were with Shirien. Even this one time when we were in horrific traffic on Riverside drive, desperately trying to get to the Met on time while listening to our orchestra playing the overture to the Marriage of Figaro on the radio, – which we were supposed to be playing as well…

She was the most delightful violin teacher for my daughter Sophia when she was about 10 years old. They had so much fun,- often a violin lesson was combined with a cooking or baking lesson as well,- as she was the most incredible cook and had fun sharing it with my daughter. She was there for my family during Hurricane Sandy when we lost our electricity and couldn’t live at our house for a week. She had us stay with her and she cooked for us and made sure we were okay until we could live at home again.


  • Fabio Luisi says:

    I am devastated about this. A wonderful violinist and a great colleague. It always has been a pleasure to work with Shirien. My condolences to Paul.

  • William Rowland says:

    Rest in peace but you certainly are missed by me who heard you many times on the radio and tv with the rest of the irchestray

  • Axl says:

    Ohh so sad news! My condolences to her widow and MET community!

  • Robert Ballhaus says:

    There are just too many unexpected deaths since January 2021. Too many. Think!

  • A wonderful player, owner of some great (and humble!) leadearship gestures that one would see and hear in the midst of challenging performances, adding her profound understanding of technical issues….a wonderful attitude and priceless smile at any and all risky spots that she managed to deliver cleanly and wisely… she is a musician that we conductors will always remember….

    My short esperience at the MET was marked by her sincere support and outstanding (and unasssuming) musicianship. Looking at the photo the NL has posted, it is so sad to know that she is no longer around, that I will never cross any words with her…. she will surely rest in peace for all she has given to her orchestra. I sent here my thankful acknowledgment -something I would have loved to tell her while she was alive. My deep condolences to her family and friends. DSA