As the career of the great James Levine enters its twilight, major organizations are finding ways to recognize his work. The Metropolitan Opera, where he has been for decades has already made him music director emeritus and it seems that another organization is just as ready to create a position to honor him.
Enter Ravinia, which has now conferred on him the title of Conductor Laureate to honor his commitment to Ravinia as its Music Director for 21 years.
The new role will allow the 73-year-old maestro to conduct multiple programs in his two-week annual residency as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s six-week summer residency. This all begins in 2018.
“Ravinia commands the ideal resources, a superb orchestra, and chorus in a welcoming environment, for live audiences to experience music’s rich and varied masterworks,” Levine stated in a press release. “I look forward to sharing this music and my lifelong love for it with Ravinia audiences over the next several summers.”
Levine will also conduct concerts with the CSO and work with participants in the festival’s professional summer conservatory, the Steans Music Institute, which he had a hand in creating back in 1988.
Levine made his Ravinia debut in 1971. His next performance at the festival will be Haydn’s “The Creation” with the CSO.