Levine Feature BR

His curly hair and a towel flung over his shoulder give him high recognition, and in the German-speaking world he has been a familiar face for a long time. His name is James Levine, and he is one of the most famous American conductors. Herbert von Karajan introduced him to the Berlin Philharmonic as a guest conductor, from there he made it to Salzburg, and for almost 20 years, Levine has also been a fixture in Bayreuth. However, his highest priority has been the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has worked with the Met's orchestra for more than a quarter century, molding it into a top orchestra that is a match for any renowned orchestra in the United States. For the past few months, he has had another position in Germany. He succeeded the late Sergiu Celibidache's as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic last fall. To fulfill his new obligation, he sacrificed some of his guest conducting jobs, but a few gigs on the side are just irrestistible -- for example, his appearances with the Three Tenors, or conducting the sound track of the new cartoon "Fantasia 2000." Besides, the former child prodigy on the piano is still a hihgly-demanded piano accompanist. Georg Hirsch visited the musician with the busy schedule in his office at the Metropolitan Opera.

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