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Peter Gelb to receive Sanford Medal at Convocation Sep. 9

General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera and former Yale student to receive the Yale School of Music's most prestigious award
September 6, 2013

Peter-Gelb-by-Dario-AcostaPeter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, is to receive the Samuel Simons Sanford Award from the Yale School of Music. Dean Robert Blocker will make the presentation at the School’s annual Convocation on Monday, September 9.

The Sanford Award is the School of Music’s most prestigious honor. Previous recipients include such illustrious musical figures as contralto Lili Chookasian, pianist Alfred Brendel, choral conductor Robert Shaw, and clarinetist Benny Goodman.

Gelb studied at Yale College and for a time worked in the School of Music’s Concert and Press Office.

Under Gelb’s leadership, the Met in 2006 began broadcasting selected performances live in high definition around the world. Beginning in 2010, the Yale School of Music began offering these broadcasts on campus, thanks to a gift from Frederick Iseman ’74BA. The broadcasts, which are open to members of the Yale community  and are free of admission, bring numerous performances of the Metropolitan Opera to the Yale campus every year.

Convocation opens the academic year with the installation of the incoming class. Yale President Peter Salovey, continuing the tradition he began as Provost, will install the students. The event will also feature an address by the Dean and performances by Yale School of Music students, faculty, and alumni.

The Yale School of Music’s Convocation will stream live online. Visit this link on Monday at 7 pm Eastern Daylight Time to watch the live stream.

About Peter Gelb

Peter Gelb’s career began with his teenage years as an usher at the Metropolitan Opera and led to his appointment, in August 2006, as the company’s 16th general manager.

Now in his eighth season at the helm of the Met, Mr. Gelb has overseen the launch of a number of initiatives aimed at revitalizing opera and connecting it to a wider audience. One of his fundamental goals has been to recruit the world’s great theater directors to enhance the theatricality of the Met’s productions and complement the extraordinary musical standards established by Music Director James Levine. Mr. Gelb is also committed to securing more engagements each season from the world’s top singers. One of the most successful and trailblazing of his new initiatives is The Met: Live in HD, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of live performance transmissions shown in high definition in movie theaters. The series has sold more than ten million tickets since its inception in December 2006 and and is currently seen on more than 1,900 screens in 64 countries across six continents. The Met’s HD programs have raised global awareness of opera, inspiring other institutions throughout the world that are in need of revitalization.

Mr. Gelb has also made a priority of revitalizing the repertory with new productions of both classic operas and modern masterpieces. Since he took over with the 2006–07 season, the Met has presented 54 new stagings by some of the world’s greatest theater, film, and opera directors, including David Alden, Patrice Chéreau, Willy Decker, Richard Eyre, François Girard, Michael Grandage, Nicholas Hytner, William Kentridge, Robert Lepage, Michael Mayer, David McVicar, the late Anthony Minghella, Mark Morris, Jack O’Brien, Peter Sellars, Bartlett Sher, Zhang Yimou, and Mary Zimmerman, among others.

Mr. Gelb has also capitalized on new media technology to share Met performances with a wider global audience than ever before. In September 2006, Sirius Satellite Radio (now SiriusXM) launched Metropolitan Opera Radio, an around-the-clock channel broadcasting live performances each week as well as historic performances from the Met’s vast radio archive. The Met Opera on Demand streaming service makes HD, standard-definition, and audio performances available online in high quality on a subscription basis. The Met also presents free, live streaming of performances from its website once a week. Other initiatives launched by Mr. Gelb include a commissioning program for new operas; free dress rehearsals for the public; a free live transmission of the opening-night performance onto giant screens at Times Square and Lincoln Center Plaza; a popular rush tickets program that offers select orchestra seats for weekday and weekend performances at dramatically reduced prices; and the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met, a contemporary art exhibition space in the Met lobby that presents new work connected to Met productions by such artists as John Currin, William Kentridge, Julie Mehretu, Elizabeth Peyton, Julian Schnabel, Dana Schutz, and others.

Mr. Gelb’s extensive and varied experience in the field of classical music has prepared him for the considerable challenge of overseeing both the artistic and the administrative aspects of one of the largest performing arts institutions in the world. As an award-winning producer of films, recordings, radio broadcasts, telecasts, concert events, operas, and festivals, he worked with many of the world’s leading artists prior to becoming general manager, including Vladimir Horowitz, Herbert von Karajan, Mstislav Rostropovich, Luciano Pavarotti, and Plácido Domingo.

His close association with Maestro Levine extends back two decades and spans recordings and film (Fantasia 2000). In 1992, Mr. Gelb produced both the stage and film versions of Julie Taymor’s first opera production, Oedipus Rex, for Seiji Ozawa’s Saito Kinen Festival. Also for that Japanese festival, in 1994 he commissioned an early opera staging by Robert Lepage, La Damnation de Faust, a reconceived version of which premiered at the Met in the 2008–09 season.

Time magazine named Mr. Gelb a 2008 honoree of the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people. In 2010, France honored him as an Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in May 2012 he received the Diplomacy Award of the Foreign Policy Association.