The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is regarded as one of the world's finest orchestras. From the time of the company's inception in 1883, the ensemble has worked with leading conductors in both opera and concert performances, and has developed into an orchestra of enormous technical polish and style. The MET Orchestra (as the ensemble is referred to when appearing in concert outside the opera house) maintains a demanding schedule of performances and rehearsals during its 33-week New York season, when the company performs as many as seven times a week in repertory that this season encompasses 26 operas.
In addition to its opera schedule, the orchestra has a distinguished history of concert performances. Arturo Toscanini made his American debut as a symphonic conductor with The MET Orchestra in 1913, and the impressive list of instrumental soloists who have appeared with the orchestra includes Leopold Godowsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals, Josef Hofmann, Ferruccio Busoni, Jascha Heifetz, Moriz Rosenthal, and Fritz Kreisler. Since the orchestra resumed symphonic concerts in 1991, instrumental soloists have included Itzhak Perlman, Maxim Vengerov, Alfred Brendel, and Evgeny Kissin, and the group has performed six world premieres: Milton Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), William Bolcom's Symphony No. 7 (2002), Hsueh-Yung Shen's Legend (2002), Charles Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007) and Time Regained (2009), and John Harbison's Closer to My Own Life (2011).
Esa-Pekka Salonen's restless innovation drives him constantly to reposition classical music in the 21st century. He is currently the principal conductor and artistic advisor for London's Philharmonia Orchestra and the conductor laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he served as music director from 1992 until 2009. The 2016-2017 season is his second of three as the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, and his first of five years as artist in association at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. Additionally, Mr. Salonen is artistic director and cofounder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival, now in its 14th year, which invites celebrated artists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2009 leading the Met premiere of Janáček's From the House of the Dead and returned in 2016 for a new production of Richard Strauss's Elektra.
As a composer, Mr. Salonen's works move freely among contemporary idioms, combining intricacy and technical virtuosity with playful rhythmic and melodic innovations. He has composed a number of pieces for symphony orchestra, and this season, his cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma premiered with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was subsequently performed by the New York Philharmonic. He is the recipient of many major awards, including a Grammy Award, the UNESCO Rostrum Prize, the Siena Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society's Opera and Conductor Awards, the Litteris et Artibus medal, the rank of Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland, the Helsinki Medal, the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, and seven honorary doctorates in four different countries. Musical America named him its Musician of the Year in 2006, and he was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.
Christian Tetzlaff has been one of the most exciting and sought-after violinists on the classical music scene for decades. His concerts often become an existential experience for interpreter and audience alike. In addition to familiar works suddenly appearing in an entirely new light, he frequently turns his attention to forgotten masterpieces and attempts to establish important new works in the repertoire. He has an unusually extensive repertoire and gives approximately 100 concerts every year. Essential to this approach are the courage to take risks, technical brilliance, openness, and alertness to life. Significantly, he played in youth orchestras for many years. His teacher at the Lübeck University of Music was Uwe-Martin Haiberg, for whom musical interpretation is the key to violin technique.
In 1994, Mr. Tetzlaff founded his own string quartet; chamber music is still as important to him as his work as a soloist with and without orchestra. The Tetzlaff Quartet has received such awards as the Diapason d'Or, and his trio with his sister Tanja Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt was nominated for a Grammy Award. Since 2004, he has performed with The MET Orchestra four times. He served as artist in residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker, and he appears regularly as a guest with such ensembles as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and London's leading orchestras, working with conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Robin Ticciati, and Vladimir Jurowski. During the 2016-2017 season, he performs on four continents, including appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and as artist-in-residence with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in Amsterdam. Tours take him with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Robin Ticciati to East Asia, and with Lars Vogt to the United States. With the Tetzlaff Quartet or in trio with Tanja Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, he performs in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and other European cities. He plays a violin made by the German violin maker Peter Greiner and teaches regularly at the Kronberg Academy.
Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter is one of today's most recorded artists, with an unrivaled discography built across a career that spans more than three decades at the very top of her profession. She made her debut at the Met as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier in 1990, and has also appeared with the company as Idamante in Idomeneo, Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Countess Geschwitz in Lulu. This season's highlights include a US and European tour with trailblazing string quartet Brooklyn Rider, as well as performances as Countess Geschwitz at Staatsoper Hamburg and Leonora Palma in Thomas Adès's The Exterminating Angel at Covent Garden--a role she created in the work's 2016 world premiere at the Salzburg Festival.
An ever-evolving repertoire has played a key role in sustaining Ms. von Otter's international reputation as an operatic force. She has appeared in many of the world's greatest opera houses, including the Opéra de Paris, Zürich Opera, Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival, Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet, Dutch National Opera, Teatro Real de Madrid, Theater an der Wien, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. A busy concert schedule takes her to all corners of the world, while recent guest appearances include performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Daniele Gatti, Washington's National Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Marc Minkowski, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Sakari Oramo. Ms. von Otter appeared with tenor Jonas Kaufmann and the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by the late Claudio Abbado for a televised performance of Das Lied von der Erde on the 100th anniversary of Mahler's death, and last season, she appeared with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu in a performance of newly commissioned arrangements of Sibelius songs on the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth.