Metropolitan Opera - Principal Conductors

Principal Conductors

Although the Met did not have an officially designated "Music Director" until Rafael Kubelík in 1973, a number of principal conductors have assumed a strong leadership role at different times in the company's history. They set artistic standards and influenced the quality and performance style of the orchestra. The Met has also had several guest conductors.

  • Anton Seidl (1885–1897)
  • Walter Damrosch (1884–1902)
  • Alfred Hertz (1902–1915, principal conductor of German repertory)
  • Gustav Mahler (1908–1910)
  • Arturo Toscanini (1908–1915)
  • Artur Bodanzky (1915–1939, principal conductor of German repertory)
  • Tullio Serafin (1924–1934)
  • Fausto Cleva (1931–1971)
  • Erich Leinsdorf (1938–1942, principal conductor of German repertory)
  • George Szell (1942–1946)
  • Fritz Busch (1945–1949)
  • Fritz Reiner (1949–1953)
  • Dimitri Mitropoulos (1954–1960)
  • Erich Leinsdorf (1957–1962)
  • Kurt Adler (1943–1973, chorus master and conductor)
  • Rafael Kubelík (1973–1974, music director)
  • James Levine (1973–present, title changed to "music director" in 1976 and thereafter; artistic director 1986–2004)
  • Valery Gergiev (1997–2008, principal guest conductor)
  • Fabio Luisi (principal guest conductor 2010–2011; principal conductor 2011–present)

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