Today, we are sad to announce the passing of our longtime concertmaster Raymond Gniewek. He was a kind, humble, witty, and cherished member of our orchestra, who was loved by us all.
Our recently retired principal associate concertmaster Laura Hamilton wrote this beautiful post about him:
“Yesterday we lost a dear friend and treasured colleague. Raymond Gniewek (1931-2021) was concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 43 years. Our careers there overlapped by 13 years. It was my great good fortune to sit next to him for innumerable hours, benefiting from the wealth of his experience and learning all the major repertoire at his elbow. We played so many masterpieces together: Rosenkavalier, Ariadne, the Ring, Lohengrin, Tannhauser, Parsifal, Don Carlo, Aida, Onegin, Figaro, Don Giovanni, all the Puccini operas and on and on and on. We played Otello and Falstaff on a double Saturday once. His mentorship and our close friendship were incredibly meaningful and important to me; he was like a musical father to me. His stamina was legendary and he loved his job, but he also knew how to relax in the off-season and pursue other interests. He was an artist with a formidable technique and a sweetly singing solo sound that I will never forget. He was an amazing and inspiring leader, both in the heat of the action and as our section leader and concertmaster. He appreciated the skills of his section and often told us that he knew how much we contributed to the success of each performance. Rest In Peace, Ray”