Maestro James Levine announced Thursday that he will retire as the Metropolitan Opera music director at the end of the season after 40 years.
Levine, 72, is leaving for health reasons. He has struggled with the effects of Parkinson’s disease in recent years, which has made it more difficult to conduct a full schedule of Met performances.
Levine made his Met debut at the age of 28 and has led 2,551 performances in his career there, more than any other Met opera conductor.
Upon stepping down as music director, Levin will assume the new role of music director emeritus and continue as the artistic leader of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
The Met said that it has plans to appoint a new music direct within the coming months.
“Through 45 years of unwavering devotion, Maestro Levine has shaped the Met Orchestra into the world-class ensemble it is today,” said Jessica Phillips, chair of the orchestra committee in a statement. “It is an honor to carry the values Maestro Levine has instilled in us into this new era at the Metropolitan Opera—the house that Jimmy built.”