The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (OPO) mourns the passing of Maestro Joel Nason Revzen on May 25, 2020, as a victim of COVID-19.
We at the OPO had the honor of many artistic collaborations with Maestro Revzen including fully staged productions of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in October 2013, Puccini’s Tosca in May 2015 and in our Classics Series. Maestro Revzen was not only a master of operatic literature but also of orchestral repertoire. Maestro Revzen would not allow musicians to call him “Maestro”, but insisted on simply being called Joel. We remember this Classics performance in November of 2013 with Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, the Shostakovich Violin Concerto with the great Cho-Liang Lin as soloist, and a rousing rendition of the Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.
Joel’s career began in 1984 as an Assistant Conductor with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In 1991, he became the Artistic Director of the Berkshire Opera and in 2003 he joined the Arizona Opera as Artistic Director/Principal Conductor conducting hundreds of performances and was named Conductor Laureate. He served on the Aspen Festival faculty for nine seasons mentoring young talents from around the globe. And in 1999 Joel joined the Metropolitan Opera’s conducting staff, a position he continued to hold as his illness became a reality. In 2011 Joel became the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Classical Tahoe and in 2018 he was appointed Music Director of the Mayshad Music Festival in Marrakech Morocco. Joel was a frequent guest conductor of great orchestras throughout the U.S. and the world.
We have lost a monumental talent, teacher, advocate, and friend, however, the singers and musicians mentored by Joel through his career number in the tens of thousands and his legacy of excellence and exuberant love for great music will live on. “With immense gratitude for Joel’s light and influence in the world, which will of course remain, indomitable,” stated Cindy Rhys, Joel’s wife.
Cindy Rhys has requested that any gift you feel you would like to make in Joel’s name should go to the Arts, or to help our fellow citizens who are struggling.