NEW YORK, NY.- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
has announced that Hilde Limondjian, who has been the General Manager of its Concerts & Lectures series since 1969, will step down from the position on June 30, 2010, at the conclusion of the series' 56th season. Ms. Limondjian has programmed 41 seasons of music and lectures more than 9,000 events at the Metropolitan Museum that comprise not only the oldest continually offered major concert series in New York, but one of the most esteemed.
Ms. Limondjian, with her staff, has planned the 2010-2011 season of Concerts & Lectures, highlights of which include the acclaimed PianoForte recital series, the Pacifica Quartet performing all the Shostakovich string quartets, the New York Philharmonic's CONTACT! new music series, Itzhak Perlman, Judy Collins, and Patti Smith, among others.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, stated: "Hilde has made an important contribution not only to the Museum's programs but to the City's cultural life as well. Thanks to her astute programming, audiences have had the opportunity to enjoy a wealth of musical offerings and a wide range of talks on art and music. Her successor will have a rich artistic legacy to build upon."
A trained pianist who studied with Edward Weiss and Frank Sheridan, Hilde Limondjian was appointed head of the Concerts & Lectures Department in 1969, after receiving her B.A. in Art History from Barnard College, where she studied with noted Rubens scholar Julius Held, and working at the United Nations. Mirroring the quality of the Museum's world-renowned art collections, she has presented hundreds of the world's finest musicians and scholars in a series that has been lauded not only for the quality of its events but for its innovations in the realms of programming and concert presentation.
The roster of artists has included not only those at the height of their stardom, but young emerging performers just beginning their careers, many of whom went on to great renown among them Yo-Yo Ma, Martha Argerich, Richard Goode, András Schiff, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin, Garrick Ohlsson, Cecilia Bartoli, the Emerson String Quartet, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Hilde Limondjian brought the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri String Quartet to the Museum for residencies that lasted decades, and she recently named the Pacifica Quartet the new quartet-in-residence. On the occasion of the concert series' 50th anniversary, Ms. Limondjian established a resident ensemble, the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, a group of young musicians whose performances have met with critical acclaim, and she worked with Toby and Itzhak Perlman to bring concerts by their Perlman Music Program to the stage.
She has also placed the Metropolitan Museum Concerts series in the vanguard of the field of concert presentation by pioneering trends that have since been widely emulated including thematic programming; concerts with commentary, providing chamber music opportunities for major orchestras (the New York Philharmonic's chamber music and CONTACT! new music series, and "Met at the Met" with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and James Levine); early music festivals; and early hour-long concerts and creating or hosting such landmark events as a series devoted to films of Glenn Gould, and the premieres of such major 20th-century works as La Monte Young's week long environment, Dream House, and Steve Reich's Tehillim. She also brought some of the world's greatest music festivals to the concert series, including those of Marlboro, Lockenhaus, and Santa Fe.
Under her aegis, the concert series initiated the tradition of Christmas concerts performed in front of the Museum's annual Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque crèche display in the Medieval Sculpture Hall, and events in such Museum galleries as the Vélez Blanco Patio and The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing. And, beginning in 1969 with concerts by Nina Simone and the Modern Jazz Quartet, the series has consistently included jazz and world music.
In addition, Ms. Limondjian nurtured the lecture series to feature events on art history, exhibitions, and related subjects hosted by the Museum's esteemed curators, and expanded it to include talks on music, dance, theater, and social history with some of today's most renowned cultural figures.
Hilde Limondjian was one of two presenters featured, in a photo montage of major artists and figures in the field, on the cover of Chamber Music America's 30th anniversary annual directory (2008).
A search for her successor is currently underway.