Obituary: Metropolitan Opera Staff Conductor Joel Revzen Dies of COVID-19-Related Causes

By Francisco Salazar

Maestro Joel Revzen has died at the age of 74 due to causes related to COVID-19.

Revzen began his studies at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University where he studied conducting, piano, accompanying, and ear training. From there he went to Juilliard to study conducting and received both his bachelors and masters.

In 1984, he joined the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as an assistant conductor where he led performances each year, including regional tours and annual Messiah performances.

In 1991, he became the artistic director and conductor of the Berkshire Opera where he led 28 productions. He also joined the Arizona Opera in 2003 as Artistic Director/Principal Conductor and led 31 opera productions with over 150 performances and was appointed Conductor Laureate.

During his time with the companies, Revzen served on the faculty of the Aspen Festival for nine seasons..

In 1999 he joined the Metropolitan Opera’s conducting staff, making his debut in 2017 leading two performances of “Eugene Onegin” starring Anna Netrebko and Peter Mattei. He also served as assistant conductor on productions of Puccini’s “Turandot, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Bellini’s “Norma,” Massenet’s “Cendrillon,” Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West,” Boito’s “Mefistofele,” Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” and Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito.”

In 2011, he became the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Classical Tahoe where he inaugurated the festival in 2012. In 2018 he was appointed Music Director of the Mayshad Music Festival in Marrakech Morocco.

Throughout the years he guest conducted many orchestras including the Prague Symphony, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic, Orchestra National de Lyon, Orchestra Capital de Toulouse, Philharmonique de Radio France, the National Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic, National Arts Center Orchestra (Canada), and the Chamber Orchestra of San Remo (Italy). He also conducted at the Mariinsky Theatre where he was invited by Valery Gergiev.

Among his recordings are the Grammy wining recording of the “The Art of Arleen Auger” where he served as pianist and conductor, Haydn’s “Die Schöpfung” and “Die Jahreszeiten” with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, two recordings with the London Symphony, and Menotti”s “The Consul” with the Berkshire Opera.