Vincent J. Lionti

1959-2020

Tributes:

A Virtual Symphony Tribute: Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus. In Memory of our Conductor, Vincent J. Lionti

This tribute reflects the dedication of all members of the Youth Symphony. As a group, they refused to let COVID-19 prevent them from “getting together” to play one last time in memory of their Conductor, Vincent Lionti. Working at home, each musician recorded their part of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus (arranged for full orchestra by Marc Garetto, Harmonie Editions), with the final compilation created through the hard work of Interim Conductor Kathleen Feldman, GWYOA Board Member Grace Baccay, and JLK Productions.

Thank you, Mr. Lionti, our beloved conductor, for many years of instruction, inspiration and exquisite music.

- The Greater Westchester Youth Symphony

Class of 2019-2020

Members of the Metropolitan Orchestra viola section and Joyce DiDonato perform “Ombra mai fù” from Handel’s Serse in a video tribute to Vincent Lionti shown during the April 25, 2020, At-Home Gala. Edited by Pete Scalzitti.

PBS NewsHour feature "Faces of COVID"

If you missed the PBS NewsHour feature "Faces of COVID" which was broadcast on Friday evening, April 17, 2020, honoring five individuals who fell victim to this horrible virus - including Vincent Lionti. It can be found here: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/remembering-some-of-those-lost-to-covid-19

Obituaries:

Vincent Lionti, 1959-2020

The Met mourns the loss of Vincent Lionti, a violist in the Met Orchestra, who died April 4 from complications of the coronavirus. A beloved member of the orchestra since 1987, Vincent held bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard School and was a mentor to young musicians. Our thoughts are with his family, loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

In 2018, Vincent was honored as part of the Met's annual Service Awards ceremony, in which he was recognized for 30 years of distinguished artistry with the company. Below are General Manager Peter Gelb's remarks from that occasion.

Vincent was only 28 when he won his audition to join the Met Orchestra in 1987, but he already had four years with the Detroit Symphony and two years as a substitute with the New York Philharmonic behind him. Before that, he had the finest musical training, earning his bachelor's and master's degrees at Juilliard, where the view of the Met from his teacher's studio window provided ongoing inspiration. His teacher was none other than his father, Victor, who guided his son's musical education from the beginning, starting his son on the piano when he was very young and then teaching him to play his own instrument of choice, the viola, at age 13. Victor, who we're delighted to have with us here today, is a very accomplished musician in his own right, having played in both the Rochester Philharmonic and U.S. Marine Band.

When Vincent won his position at the Met, he borrowed his father's viola, an instrument that Vincent had always coveted. Vincent never returned it, having played on it throughout his entire Met career. I think at this point Victor has decided to let him keep it.

Of all the momentous events that have taken place during Vincent's years at the Met, the most meaningful one for him occurred during an intermission of Pelléas et Mélisande in 1995, when he met his future wife, Kristin Bostrup, a former Met marketing staff member who was visiting her friend, Met orchestra office manager Rachel Hocking. Of course, this initial encounter between Vincent and Kristin could have taken place in only one location—the Met's cafeteria, where romance inevitably blossoms.

One thing led to another, and soon enough Kristin Bostrup became Kristin Lionti, Vincent's wife of now 21 years. For them, the Met became even more of a family affair in 2011 and 2012, when Vincent and Kristin's son Nicholas, then about 10 years old, appeared as a super in 13 performances of Nixon in China and Macbeth. Kristen and Nicholas are both here today to help us celebrate Vincent's award.

When Vincent isn't at the Met, he spends much of his time conducting the Westchester Youth Symphony in Westchester County, where he grew up. This endeavor continues his father's legacy, as Victor conducted the same youth orchestra for 27 years until passing the baton to his son in 1997.

In addition to Victor, Kristen, and Nicholas, Vincent's sister Kathryn and her husband Colin are with us today. Thank you for being here.

Congratulations on 30 outstanding years, Vincent!

Photo and text courtesy of the Metropolitan OperaLink to this web page

Vincent Lionti, Violist and Youth Orchestra Conductor, Dies at 60

He was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for three decades, and also led an ensemble of young players in Westchester County.

Vincent Lionti conducting the Westchester Youth Symphony in 2019. His other job was playing viola with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Credit...Bob Plotkin

By Neil Genzlinger

April 6, 2020

For more than 30 years, Vincent J. Lionti, a violist with the Metropolitan Opera, sat in the pit looking up at dimly lit conductors. But in Westchester County, N.Y., he had a different stance: Mr. Lionti stood on the podium looking out at the players of the Westchester Youth Symphony.

"I especially delight in seeing the look of accomplishment on these young musicians' faces when they walk offstage after a concert, into the wings where I like to stand and congratulate them," Mr. Lionti told the Met Orchestra Musicians blog in 2014.

Mr. Lionti died on Saturday of complications of the new coronavirus, the Metropolitan Opera said in a posting on its website. He was 60.

Leading the youth orchestra was something of a familial calling. The conductor before Mr. Lionti took up the baton was his father, C. Victor Lionti.

Vincent began playing with the ensembles of the Greater Westchester Youth Orchestras Association when he was 12. He led the Westchester Junior Strings, another of the association's ensembles, for four years before taking over its Youth Symphony, in 1997.

As a 21-year-old violist, Mr. Lionti was among five young musicians introduced by Isaac Stern in 1980 at a concert of chamber music at Carnegie Hall billed as "Isaac Stern and ..."

He performed extensively thereafter, appearing as a soloist and in a variety of small groups as well as with orchestras.

Mr. Lionti, who was born on April 9, 1959, held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. Before joining the Met Orchestra, he was a member of the Detroit Symphony for four years and a substitute for the New York Philharmonic for two.

In addition to his father, Mr. Lionti is survived by his wife, Kristin (Bostrup) Lionti; a son, Nicholas; and a sister, Kathryn.

In 1998 Mr. Lionti led the Youth Symphony in a concert that he later remembered as one of the most moving experiences in his musical career. It was at the New York School for the Deaf in White Plains, N.Y.

“All of the people came in, sat as close to the orchestra as they could, on the floor,” he said in a 2006 interview with The Journal News of Westchester. “We had a gigantic orchestra, 110 players making quite a sound in a gymnasium, and I’m sure they could feel the vibrations.”


Link to this article

Obituary: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Member Vincent Lionti Dies of COVID-19

By Francisco Salazar

April 4, 2020

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra has announced that member violist Vincent Lionti has died of COVID-19.

The orchestra announced the news via social media stating, “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of one of our own. Vincent Lionti passed away due to complications related to Covid-19. ‘Vinnie’ joined the viola section of the MET Orchestra in 1987. We offer our condolences to his family & friends. We’ll miss you, Vinnie.”

Lionti joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on September 1, 1987 after having played with the New York Philharmonic from 1981-1983. He was also a member of the Detriot Symphony from 1983-1987.

During his time in Detroit, Lionti was a faculty member of the Macomb Community College, a member of the Lyric Chamber Players, the Renaissance City Chamber Players and a founding member of the Ventura String Quartet.

The accomplished musician also served as guest Principal Viola for the Indianapolis, New Jersey, American Symphony Orchestras, and the Santa Fe Opera.

Lionti served as conductor at the Greater Westchester Youth Orchestras Association, the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing, the Downtown Sinfonietta of White Plains and of the Merrick Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the NYU Steinhardt School Symphony Orchestra and led numerous All-State student orchestras.

He held a Bachelors and Masters degrees from The Juilliard School, where he was a teaching assistant and Principal Viola of the Juilliard Orchestra.

Lionti leaves his wife Kristin and son, Nicholas Lionti, who appeared onstage as an extra on the Met stage in “Nixon in China” and “Macbeth.”


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