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Renowned Met Opera Concertmaster Raymond Gniewek has Died

Concertmaster for over 43 years, Gniewek passed away due to cancer complications, aged 89


At just 25, Gniewek was named concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The second American-born musician to hold the job at the Met, he was challenged with advising his more tenured colleagues on opera, a genre with a deep European heritage.

In an interview with the New York Times given at the time of his retirement, he stated, “I sort of waded my way through things, wasn’t too arrogant, and the musicians were very supportive.”

“It’s my job to make technical translations of the desired sound, and you have to show, not tell, because the same words can mean different things to different people.”

Gniewek is often credited with helping elevate the ensemble, raising it to the level of other great orchestras.

“Mr. Gniewek has everything that could be wanted in a violinist — impeccable intonation, a technique so secure that he is free to concentrate on problems of interpretation and a pronounced flair for particular style,” Richard D. Freed stated in a review in The Times, of Gniewek’s 1966 New York City recital debut at Town Hall.

Our condolences to Mr. Gniewek’s family, friends, and colleagues.

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