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 appeared with the orchestra includes Leopold Godowsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals, Josef Hofmann, Ferruccio Busoni, Jascha Heifetz, Moriz Rosenthal, and Fritz Kreisler. The orchestra’s appearances at Carnegie Hall began in 1991, when then–Artistic Director James Levine instituted the annual series. Since then, 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).
Gianandrea Noseda is widely recognized as one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was named the National Symphony Orchestra’s (NSO) seventh music director in January 2016 and began his four-year term last September with the 2017–2018 season opening night gala, celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s centenary.
Mr. Noseda also serves as principal guest conductor of both the London Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, principal conductor of the Cadaqués Orchestra, and artistic director of the Stresa Festival in Italy. From 2007 to 2018, he served as music director of the Teatro Regio Torino, ushering in a transformative era for the company, which received international acclaim for its productions, tours, recordings, and film projects under his leadership.
In addition to his eight subscription weeks with the NSO, highlights of Mr. Noseda’s 2017–2018 season have included appearances with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Orchestre de Paris; a tour of the Far East with the London Symphony Orchestra; and concerts in London.
Mr. Noseda is a frequent guest with leading opera houses and orchestras around the world, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Teatro alla Scala, Munich Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Zurich Opera House, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2015 and at the Salzburg Festival the same year, leading the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Il trovatore.
Mr. Noseda has a cherished relationship with the Metropolitan Opera that dates back to 2002. In the 2016–2017 season, he conducted a new production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, which received its premiere in the New Year’s Eve Gala. He also led a critically acclaimed new production of Les pêcheurs de perles, which premiered in the New Year’s Eve Gala in 2015. His widely praised interpretation of Prince Igor during the 2013–2014 season, for which he and director Dmitri Tcherniakov fashioned a new version, was released on DVD.
A native of Milan, Mr. Noseda is a Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, marking his contribution to the artistic life of Italy. In 2015, he was honored as Musical America’s Conductor of the Year, and he was also named the 2016 International Opera Awards Conductor of the Year. In December 2016, he was privileged to conduct the Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm.
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism, and an unfaltering musicality, he is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors, including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Marin Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Stéphane Denève, Sir Mark Elder, Iván Fischer, Edward Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Gianandrea Noseda, David Robertson, and Donald Runnicles. He performs regularly with the world’s finest orchestras, including the Boston, Chicago, London, Pittsburgh, and NHK symphony orchestras; the New York, Los Angeles, Czech, and BBC philharmonics; the Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Philharmonia orchestras; and the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Alongside his concerto work, Mr. Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and the Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, and White Nights festivals. In 2009, he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival, performing Paganini’s caprices. In 2016, he undertook a cross-Canada recital tour—performing in each of the country’s provinces and territories—to celebrate his 40th birthday.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Ehnes has collaborated with leading artists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Louis Lortie, Jan Vogler, and Yo-Yo Ma. In summer 2017, he makes his debut at the Verbier Festival, performing with artists who include Sir Antonio Pappano, Yuja Wang, Nikolai Lugansky, Antoine Tamestit, and Mischa Maisky. In 2010, he formally established the Ehnes Quartet, with which he has performed in Europe at venues that include Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix-en-Provence, among others. He is also the artistic director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Mr. Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings, including a Gramophone Award for his live recording of Elgar’s Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Barber, Korngold, and Walton violin concertos won Grammy and JUNO awards.
Mr. Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protégé of noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin at age nine, made his orchestral debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at 13, and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. He plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.