On March 11, 2022 the Met Orchestra mourned the loss of a wonderful colleague, violist Ira Weller.
Ira was a beloved friend, musician, teacher, husband, and father, who graced us with his warmth at The Metropolitan Opera for 30 years. Ira taught at the Mannes School of Music, Bard College Conservatory of Music, and performed at Marlboro School of Music and Festival: Official Page, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Blue Hill, and was highly regarded as a chamber musician. He was the founding violist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet and co-director of a chamber series at the Pierpont Morgan Library. We will miss his kindness, musicianship and beautiful smile so much.
Please read a few loving memories from his Met Viola family below.
Ira was truly one of the most compassionate and generous human beings I’ve ever known. Being his colleague was wonderful, not just because he was always willing to give the people he sat with, more space (when space was such a hot commodity!), but because he was a beautiful and instinctual musician. Being his stand partner could feel almost like we were in a small chamber music group, and that we were inspiring each other to give our best. He was never judge mental of the mistakes I made, or times I came in wrong, but always wanted to acknowledge when he thought something I played was beautiful.
Being Ira’s colleague was wonderful, but being his friend was an absolute treasure. He was always tuned in to how others were feeling, especially his friends. Always willing to listen to whatever difficulty I happened to be going through on any given day, always acknowledging that he understood I was having a tough time, and sometimes just giving a hug. When we would celebrate his birthday with a cake and a few gifts we thought he’d like, he would show up with a thoughtful gift for his friends, a book, a CD, a piece of pottery, something to thank each of us for being in his life.
Some of my favorite memories with Ira were our Met tours. He missed his family so much and knew that many of us were feeling something similar. So, no matter where we were, Ann Arbor, Tokyo, Hamburg, Prague or Lucerne, he would always make sure that we explored the region, by visiting temples, museums, taking hikes with backpacks full of delicious food and making sure that we ate at some amazing restaurants. The feeling was that even though we dearly missed our families, we could celebrate our friendships and being in these amazing places together.
Being together, his friendship, hearing his laugh, his beautiful playing, his compassion for everyone, talking about how a piece of music or a book moved us, sharing how proud we are of our kids, seeing his face light up when he saw a good friend, his humor and incredible way with words, his hugs……..these are some of the gifts Ira gave and will never be forgotten
The world is so less bright today. Ira was my friend. Yes, he was a terrific musician – talented and knowledgeable, an intuitively intelligent mensch, a voracious reader, a gentle and sensitive person. Deeply devoted to his family. More than that, he was curious and accepting, patient and accommodating. Hilarious and probing. A master gift-giver. There are no sufficient words to pay tribute to this superlative human being whom I was so lucky to have had in my life. We should all be so brave and honest. I will miss him forever.
Ira was a kind and generous soul, a wonderful musician, and a deep thinker. As a colleague, he inspired us to see the good in the people and world around us. I am grateful to have known him.
Ira was an excellent human being:
He was an excellent colleague.
He was an excellent musician.
He was truly big hearted.
He was a gentleman in the literal sense of the word.
It was a gift to know him. It was a gift to have him in our viola section.
I will always remember him.
I will always miss him.