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Jay D. Meetze Memorial Opera Fund

Jay D. Meetze performingA native Michigander, Jay Duane Meetze was born on August 2, 1973, in Flint, MI. Meetze began his musical education at Mott Community College, transferring to Michigan State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 1995. Upon graduation, he taught general music for the Chicago Unified School District and went on to receive his Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting under Gerhard Samuel from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in 1998.

Mr. Meetze was the Founder, Artistic and Music Director of the Opera Company of Brooklyn (OCB), which he established in 2000. Known for enhancing the careers of countless singers, conductors, and pianists, the Opera Company of Brooklyn’s artists included Russell Thomas, Jennifer Rowley, Hope Briggs, Marnie Breckenridge, Janinah Burnett, Andrew Gangestad, Kenneth Overton, Eric Margiore, Steven Jarvi and John Zuckerman – to name but a few, all who have gone onto thriving national and international opera careers.

The Opera Company of Brooklyn was featured on the Jeopardy Quiz show, Good Morning America’s Myth Busters, CNN, National Public Radio and garnered reviews and articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and American Record Guide. Meetze enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with American composer Thomas Pasatieri and paced the Grammy-nominated CD, Divas (Albany Records) featuring the first-ever recordings of his operas Signor Deluso, anew critical edition of La Divina, starring soprano Shari Greenawald, as well as Divas of a Certain Age, written for Greenawald and soprano Ashley Putnam with the composer at the piano. The recording was named "Critic's Choice" and "Best of the Year" by Opera News magazine.

In addition to his hundreds of performances with OCB, Jay Meetze also conducted performances with Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, Rannaana Symphonette (Israel), Cincinnati Contemporary Music Ensemble, Opera Theatre of Lucca (Italy), Lansing Baroque Ensemble, Cincinnati Symphonette, Flint Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music, Cincinnati Ballet Ensemble, Stony Hill Players (New Jersey), Clio Cast and Crew (Michigan) and Cincinnati Concert Orchestra. He was an assistant conductor for Cosmopolitan Symphony Orchestra (New York), Cincinnati Opera, Elysian Opera, CCM Opera, and Cincinnati Contemporary Music Ensemble. He was an active member of the New York Philharmonic’s Conductor’s Table, American Symphony Orchestra League, and the Conductors Guild. Meetze served on the music faculty of the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv (Israel) and the Manhattan School of Music’s Summer Program.

Jay D. Meetze died in New York City on June 19th, 2020.

A Spartan, through and through, Meetze believed the high level of educational opportunities and the nurturing environment he experienced at MSU were true gifts in his life, as were the friendships that continued for the rest of his life. In honoring his memory, his friends and colleagues have begun the process of establishing the Jay D. Meetze Opera Fund, benefitting MSU’s Opera Program.

Make a Gift by Mail:

University Advancement
Spartan Way
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824

*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 21OOPCF1JMEETZ” in the note section.


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