Obituary: Raymond Gniewek, Metropolitan Opera concertmaster for more than four decades, 89

Posted on: October 19, 2021

“Raymond Gniewek, the concertmaster for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 43 years and a quiet but vital force in elevating that ensemble to a new level of renown, died on Oct. 1 in Naples, Fla. He was 89,” writes Neil Genzlinger in Thursday’s (10/14) New York Times. “His daughter Susan Law said the cause was complications of cancer. Mr. Gniewek, a violinist whose solos invariably drew acclaim, was just 25 in 1957 when he was named the orchestra’s concertmaster…. He was only the second American-born musician to hold the job at the Met. And he was the youngest member of the orchestra when he was made concertmaster…. Mr. Gniewek was credited with helping to raise the ensemble’s game considerably…. By the early 1990s it was playing concerts, making acclaimed recordings and being compared to the world’s great orchestras…. Raymond Arthur Gniewek was born on Nov. 13, 1931, in East Meadow, N.Y., on Long Island…. He attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. … In 1955, he was named concertmaster of the Rochester Civic Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic…. In addition to his daughter, who is from his first marriage, he is survived by his wife, the soprano Judith Blegen; a sister, Cecilia Brauer, who is also a musician; a stepson, Thomas Singher.”