Tuesday, June 8, 2021
General Manager, Metropolitan Opera
President & CEO, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Video is available for members-only one week after the event date
Rachel S. Moore
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Music Center (Performing Arts Center of LA County)
Treasurer, The Economic Club of New York
Peter Gelb's career has followed a singular arc that began with his teenage years as an usher at the Metropolitan Opera and led to his appointment, in August 2006, as the storied company's 16th general manager.
Now entering his 15th year at the helm of the Met, Mr. Gelb has overseen a number of initiatives aimed at revitalizing opera and connecting it to a wider audience since the start of his tenure. One of the most successful and trailblazing has been The Met: Live in HD, a Peabody and Emmy Award–winning series of live performance transmissions shown in high definition in movie theaters. The series has sold more than 28 million tickets since its inception in December 2006 and is currently seen on more than 2,200 screens in more than 70 countries across six continents. Mr. Gelb has also made a priority of revitalizing the repertory with new productions of both classic operas and modern masterpieces, overseeing more than 80 new stagings by some of the world's greatest theater, film, and opera directors.
Mr. Gelb has capitalized on new media technology to share Met performances with a wider global audience than ever before, including through an around-the-clock Met channel on SiriusXM, the Met Opera on Demand subscription streaming service, and free live performance streams on its website once a week.
In 2020, the Met was thrust into the greatest crisis in its history when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the final three months of the 2019-20 season and the entire 2020-21 season. Within days of the closure, Mr. Gelb organized the launch of Nightly Met Opera Streams, free encore presentations of complete performances from the company's voluminous archive, streamed online. These streams have continued uninterrupted for months, reaching hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world each day and keeping the Met connected with its audience. Another innovative response to the crisis was the At-Home Gala on April 25, 2020, which brought together more than 40 leading opera stars, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and members of the Met Orchestra and Chorus for an unprecedented and uplifting live event watched by nearly a million people. In July 2020, Mr. Gelb oversaw the launch of the groundbreaking Met Stars Live in Concert initiative, a pay-per-view streaming series which presents the world's greatest opera singers performing from striking locations around the globe, transmitted live in state-of-the-art HD quality.
As an award-winning producer of films, recordings, radio broadcasts, telecasts, concert events, operas, and festivals, he worked with many of the world's leading artists prior to becoming Met General Manager. As president of CAMI Video, a division of Columbia Artists Management that Mr. Gelb founded in 1982, he served as executive producer of the Met's television series for six years, producing 25 televised presentations for the company. His productions have earned 13 primetime Emmy Awards as well as multiple Peabody Awards.
From 1995 until joining the Met, Mr. Gelb was president of Sony Classical, one of the largest international classical record labels, which he led through a period of notable growth and creativity.
Henry Timms is President and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – an artistic and civic cornerstone of New York City and home to eleven resident companies on 16-acres in Manhattan.
President since 2019, Henry's focus is several-fold: supporting organizations on campus to realize their missions and fostering collaboration; increasing the accessibility and reach of Lincoln Center's work; championing inclusion; and reimagining and strengthening the performing arts, helping ensure their place at the center of daily life.
He is the creator and co-founder of #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropic movement that engages people in close to 100 countries. Designed as a counterpoint to Black Friday, it has generated over 2.5 billion dollars for good causes in the U.S. alone. The recent special edition to support COVID-19 causes catalyzed over $500M of giving online.
Henry is also the co-author of the international bestselling book New Power, described by David Brooks in the New York Times as "the best window I've seen into this new world" and as a "must-read...a gift to our movements" by Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. It was shortlisted for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year and named as a Book of the Year by Bloomberg, Fortune, Financial Times and CNBC.
As a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, he chairs the nomination committee for the RSA's most prestigious award, the Benjamin Franklin Medal.
Previously he was the President and CEO of 92nd Street Y, a leading cultural community anchor in NYC. Under his leadership, the 144-year-old institution was named to Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies" list.
He is a Hauser Visiting Leader at Harvard Kennedy School and Visiting Fellow at Stanford University.