Conductor James Levine dies, aged 77

The former music director of the Metropolitan Opera, whose contract was terminated due to sexual misconduct allegations, has died

Published: March 17, 2021 at 4:16 pm
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American conductor and pianist James Levine has died, aged 77. He is best known for his tenure as music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a position he held for 40 years between 1976 and 2016 before he was sacked over allegations of sexual misconduct in 2018.


Levine retired from the Metropolitan Opera in 2016 for health reasons, but stayed on as music director emeritus until his contract was terminated in 2018 following an internal investigation by the Metropolitan Opera. He was replaced by Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who remains in the role.

He made his debut with the Met in 1971 in a production of Puccini's Tosca, and went on to conduct 85 different operas and work with some of the biggest names in opera.

As well as serving as music director of the Met Opera, Levine also held positions at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic.

During his latter years with the Met, Levine lived with Parkinson's disease and conducted from a motorised wheelchair. He had been scheduled to make his return to the podium this January in a performance of Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem in Italy, but it had to be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

More details to come.


Top image credit: Getty Images


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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