MET Names New General Manager

October 29, 2004
William C. Morris, president and chief executive officer of The Metropolitan Opera, announced today that Peter Gelb, president of Sony Classical, has been chosen to succeed Joseph Volpe as The Metropolitan’s general manager.

Mr. Gelb will join The Metropolitan Opera on August 1, 2005, providing for a one-year transition during which he will be working with Mr. Volpe. Initially Mr. Gelb will be responsible for any remaining planning for the 2006-07 season and for the planning of future seasons. He will assume the full functions of general manager on August 1, 2006, upon Mr. Volpe’s retirement.
Peter Gelb has been president of Sony Classical since March 1995 and is responsible for all aspects of the label’s global operations. A division of Sony Music, Sony Classical is the largest classical record label in the United States and is one of the largest classical record labels internationally, as well.
Mr. Gelb was formerly president of CAMI Video, which Sony Music Entertainment acquired from Columbia Artists Management Inc. in 1993. He has won six Emmy Awards as a producer and director as well as a Peabody Award for Marsalis on Music, an educational television series. From 1987 to 1993, while at CAMI, Mr. Gelb served as executive producer of The Metropolitan Opera television programs, and was responsible for The Met radio broadcasts during that period. His 25 Met television productions during that time included the award-winning 1990 telecast of Wagner’s complete Ring cycle, which was shown on four consecutive nights on PBS.
Mr. Gelb was manager of the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz and was responsible for reviving his career in the 1980s, culminating in his historic return to Moscow in 1986, which Mr. Gelb produced for a global television audience.
Mr. Gelb’s association with The Metropolitan Opera goes back to his teenage years when he worked as an usher. In the early 1970s he also did publicity work for The Metropolitan Opera’s ballet presentations. At the age of seventeen he was an office boy for Sol Hurok, the late impresario. Before joining CAMI in 1982, he was an assistant manager of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was responsible for managing the orchestra’s historic tour of China in 1979.
Mr. Gelb was born in 1953 and is the son of Arthur Gelb, former managing editor of The New York Times, and writer Barbara Gelb. He is married to Keri-Lynn Wilson, a conductor. He has two children.
Mr. Morris said, “Mr. Gelb brings to The Metropolitan Opera a deep knowledge of classical music wedded to strong managerial talents. His past association with The Met and experience in the classical music business at the highest level make him a logical choice for this challenging position.”
“We are glad that he will be on board for a year before taking over his full duties, thus assuring an active and smooth transition which is so essential for The Metropolitan’s future.”
Beverly Sills, chairman of The Metropolitan Opera, said, “With this appointment two circles are being closed. Peter Gelb, who at one time worked with Joseph Volpe at The Met, is now stepping into the distinguished footsteps of the latter, while a separate circle is closing for me, having known the Gelb family for more than 30 years. Peter is a brilliant man and I’m certain that he will lead this great institution to further heights, using his talents, experience, and especially his love for music as means for bringing new audiences to opera. Without a doubt his youthful enthusiasm will be a big plus in reshaping the fortunes of the world’s largest opera company.”
Mr. Volpe said, “I am delighted the Board has chosen Peter Gelb as my successor. Peter and I have known each other and worked together on projects for over 20 years. Our relationship, along with his knowledge, intelligence, and sensitivity, will allow for a seamless transition and no doubt a successful future.”
The Met’s music director, James Levine, said, “I’m thrilled that Peter Gelb has agreed to become the next general manager of The Met. He and I have known each other forever and have an excellent rapport based on our collaboration on many successful artistic projects. I’m sure his vast experience coupled with his positive energy and love of the art form will give The Met a wonderfully creative and exciting future.”
Mr. Gelb said, “There is no cultural institution that I respect or love more than The Metropolitan Opera. I have known or worked with all the general managers of The Met since Rudolf Bing, including Joseph Volpe, whom I greatly admire. These are big shoes to fill and I am thrilled by this challenge.”
Mr. Morris also paid tribute to the present general manager, Joseph Volpe, who will be retiring on July 31, 2006. He said, “Joseph Volpe’s career at The Metropolitan Opera has been extraordinary. His service to our company in a variety of positions spans more than forty years. His tenure as general manager has been marked by remarkable artistic success as well as sound financial stewardship and exemplary labor relations. We are deeply grateful to him for his strong leadership and unstinting devotion to our company.”
[Source: Metropolitan Opera]

*Music Executive Is Picked to Head Metropolitan Opera*
The Metropolitan Opera said today that it had appointed Peter Gelb, a record company executive and former impresario, as its next general manager, ending months of speculation over who would take command of one of the world’s most important opera houses.
Mr. Gelb will head to the Met on Aug. 1 and overlap for a year with the outgoing general manager, Joseph Volpe, who said in February that he planned to retire at the end of the 2005-2006 season.
“The Metropolitan Opera was something I always dreamed about,” said Mr. Gelb, who worked there as an usher at age 15 and produced televised opera broadcasts there in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. “I’ve grown up always loving the Metropolitan Opera and thinking about it. For me it was always the epitome of everything exciting and glamorous in the performing arts.”
He said his earliest memory of the Met was sitting at the age of 10 in the box of Sir Rudolph Bing, the opera house’s legendary general manager, and watching Sir Rudolph race out to quiet an obstreperous audience member who had shouted “Phooey!”
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