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GERALD LEVINSON

GERALD LEVINSON

Awards

Works

Recordings

Reviews


Gerald Levinson, born in 1951 and raised in Connecticut, has been increasingly recognized as one of the major composers of his generation. In 1990, he received the Music Award (for lifetime achievement) of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which cited his “sensitive poetic spirit, imaginative treatment of texture and color,” and his “potent and very personal idiom which projects immediately to the listener.”

Levinson’s principal teachers were George Crumb, George Rochberg, and Richard Wernick at the University of Pennsylvania; Ralph Shapey at the University of Chicago. He then studied at the Paris Conservatory with Olivier Messiaen, for whom he later served as translator and assistant. He is the Jane Lang Professor of Music at Swarthmore College, where he been on the faculty since 1977, and has twice served as Chair of the Department of Music and Dance. He spent 1979-80 in Bali as a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar, composing and studying Balinese music, and returned there in 1982-83 as a Guggenheim Fellow.

Critic Paul Griffiths has written:

… What must thrill anyone who comes in contact with Gerald Levinson’s music is its sheer joy in sound, and the decisiveness with which it sings or dances its way through time. In sympathy with sound, in sympathy with time, Levinson’s music is close to the natural phenomena on which all music depends. Two things spring from this. One is that his music can easily evoke other natural phenomena: the sea, the stars, rugged landscapes. The other is that this music is in tune with other kinds of music from around the world. Levinson’s resources are classical western: he writes for the symphony orchestra, for the piano, and for chamber groupings of conventional instruments. His disciplines, too, are those of the western tradition. But the east was present in his music even before his first trip there. His works, right through his career for far, exist on companionable terms with Mahler’s music and with Bali’s, with Ravel’s and with Japan’s, with Messiaen’s and with India’s, with Stravinsky’s and with China’s, with America’s symphonic tradition and with Tibet’s slow melody. Out of all this he is creating, piece by piece, a world of his own.

Levinson has received numerous awards for his music, including two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and the Music Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2007). His music has been widely performed in the US and Europe by major orchestras and ensembles, such as the American Composers Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Seattle, Indianapolis and Cincinnati Symphonies, the City of Birmingham (England) Symphony Orchestra, the orchestras of the Aspen and Tanglewood Festivals, and many others, led by such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph Eschenbach, Oliver Knussen, Gunther Schuller, Gerard Schwarz, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Zinman, and Hugh Wolff.

His principal works include two large-scale symphonies: Anahata (Symphony No. 1) (1986) and the Second Symphony (1992-94) (commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle) as well as six other works for large orchestra, and numerous other chamber-orchestra, ensemble, vocal, keyboard, and band works.. His Five Fires (1995) was broadcast worldwide by the BBC as part of the 1997 Masterprize Competition for orchestral music, and was awarded the Prix International Arthur Honegger. Two of Levinson’s recent works were commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra: Avatar (2003), for the inaugural concert of Christoph Eschenbach as Music Director in 2003, and Toward Light (2006) for organ and orchestra, for the dedication of the new organ in its concert hall, Verizon Hall. His newest works include Three Fables (2009) for narrator, violin, and cello, to poems by Robert Lax (commissioned by the American Composers Forum for Auricolae Children’s Music Ensemble), and Now Your Colors Sing (2011) for double string orchestra (for Orchestra 2001 and the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts). His current project is a solo organ work for Olivier Latry.

View scores here (roll over to view score title):


Awards


2007: Pew Fellowship recipient

2001: Swarthmore College, Blanchard Faculty Research Fellowship

1998: Prix International Arthur Honegger de Composition Musicale, for "Five Fires"

1997: Masterprize, London: Five Fires named semifinalist and recorded for BBC and international broadcasts

1992: N.E.A. Fellowship

1990: Music Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters

1989: Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship

1986-87: Swarthmore College, Lang Faculty Research Fellowship

1983: N.E.A. Fellowship

1982: Guggenheim Fellowship

1981: New England Conservatory New Works Competition, award for "Black Magic/White Magic"

1979-80: Henry Luce Foundation Scholar (in Bali, Indonesia)

1979: Composer in residence, Yaddo

1979: Goddard Lieberson Fellowship of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters

1978: Fellow of the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts

1977: East and West Arts Chamber Music Prize (for Trio)

1973: BMI Student Composers Award

1971-1972: University of Pennsylvania Music Awards

1971: Leonard Bernstein Fellowship, Tanglewood

1970: BMI Student Composers Award

1969: BMI Student Composers Award


Works

Band | Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos | Large Chamber Ensemble | Orchestra | Vocal



Now Your Colors Sing for Double String Orchestra
Available from the Presser Rental Library


Toward Light for Organ and Orchestra
Available from the Presser Rental Library



Band


Bronze Music for Symphonic Band
Available From Margun Music, Inc. (G. Schirmer)


Mountain Light for Symphonic Band (2000) -- 8'
Published: #145-40033
Commission Information: Millennium Committee of Westport, CT
Premiere Information: Staples High School Band, Nick Mariconda, conductor; Westport, CT; May 3, 2001
Recordings

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#145-40033F)
Set of parts (#145-40033P)



Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos


Bronze Music Transcription for Two Pianos
Available From Margun Music, Inc. (G. Schirmer)


Dreamlight for Violoncello, Piano and Percussion (1990) -- 38'
Published: #144-40190
Commission Information: André Emelianoff
Premiere Information: André Emelianoff, Peter Basquin, Paul Hostetter, and Benjamin Ramirez; Miller Theater, New York; March, 1992
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#144-40190S)


Duo: Winds of Light for Violin and Piano (1973) -- 24'
Published: #144-40113
Premiere Information: Viviane Bertolami and Norine Harris, Performers of Southern Connecticut; 1973
Recordings
Reviews


Fanfare (for Boyd Barnard) for Two Trumpets in C (1985) -- 1'
Published: #144-40141
Commission Information: Written in honor of Boyd Barnard on his 90th birthday.
Premiere Information: 90th birthday celebration of Boyd Barnard, Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA; December 12, 1985


Morning Star Chorale for Piano, 4 Hands (1988) -- 9'
Published: #140-40057
Premiere Information: James Freeman and Charles Abramovic; Swarthmore Music and Dance Festival; September, 1988
Recordings


Odyssey for Solo Flute (1973) -- 13'
Published: #114-40248
Premiere Information: Jan Herlinger; University of Chicago; April, 1973


Quintet for Piano and Strings, "O alter Duft…"
Available From Composer


Quintet for Piano and Strings, "O alter Duft…" (2nd movement) transcription for Two pianos
Available From Composer


Ragamalika Four Pieces for Solo Piano (2001) -- 12'
Published: #140-40091
Premiere Information: Marcantonio Barone; Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Pennsylvania Convention Center; March 18, 2001
Additional Information: Second movement, Ragamalika, is the solo piano version of fourth movement from "Time and the Bell…"

Movements:
En blanc et noir (pour les sonorités opposées)
Postlude
Prelude
Ragamalika

Recordings
Reviews


Three Fables (2009) -- 13'
Narrator; Vln. Vcl.
Commission Information: Commissioned for Auricolae through the American Composers Forum as part of the CommunityPartners program, with funds provided by the William Penn Foundation.
Premiere Information: February 17th, 2010. Auricolae (David Yang, narrator; Luigi Mazzochi, violin; Thomas Kraines, cello), Hillcrest Elementary School, Havertown, PA.
Additional Information: Published: #141-40075
Poems by Robert Lax, from “Love Had a Compass.”

Movements:
I. Alley Violinist
II. Problem in Design
III. Old Magician


Trio for Clarinet, Violoncello and Piano (1976) -- 21'
Published: #144-40114
Premiere Information: American Chamber Trio: Cindy Hoxie, David Simpson and Robert Schwartz; Radio France broadcast, Paris; April, 1976
Recordings
Reviews



Large Chamber Ensemble


At the Still Point of the Turning World, There the Dance Is for Chamber Ensemble (2002) -- 20'
Ob., Cl., B.Cl., Sax., Vla., Vcl., Cb., Gtr., Perc.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Two performances by Network for New Music: Swarthmore College, PA; April 27, 2003. Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, PA; May 4, 2003
Recordings


For the Morning of the World Suite for Chamber Orchestra (1983) -- 27'
1(Picc. A.Fl.)-1(E.H.)-2-1; 1-2-1-0; 2Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Str.(2Vln., Vla., Vcl., Cb.; or small string section)
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Yale University
Premiere Information: Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Ronald Roseman, conductor; July, 1983
Recordings
Reviews


Here of amazing most now Twelve Instrumental Miniatures in honor of George Crumb on his 70th birthday (1999) -- 10'
Fl./A.Fl., Ob./E.H., S.Sax., Vcl., Cb., Gtr., Pno., Perc.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Written in honor of George Crumb on his 70th birthday.
Premiere Information: Orchestra 2001, David Starobin, guitar, Marshall Taylor, saxophone, James Freeman, conductor; October, 1999
Additional Information: Based on haiku by Basho, Issa, and Buson, and fragments of Lorca and cummings.

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41164)


Light dances / stones sing Music for 18 Players
Available From Margun Music, Inc. (G. Schirmer)


Sky Music in Five Movements for 13 Players (1974-75) -- 38'
2-1-1-0; 1-0-0-0; 2Perc., Hp., Pno.(Cel.), 2Vln., Vla., Vcl.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Paris Conservatory Ensemble, Levinson, conductor; Radio France, Paris; May, 1975


Time and the Bell… for Solo Piano and Chamber Ensemble (1998) -- 27'
Pno. Solo; Fl.(A.Fl.), Ob.(E.H.), Cl.(B.Cl.), Perc., Vln., Vla., Vcl.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Meet the Composer/Commissioning Music USA for Orchestra 2001, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group (Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor) and the Syracuse Society for New Music
Premiere Information: Orchestra 2001, Marcantonio Barone, piano, James Freeman, conductor; November 15, 1998
Additional Information: Also available: Piano solo version of fourth movement, Ragamalika.

Movements:
Evening
Incantation
Mosaic
Night
Ostinato
Ragamalika

Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41154S)



Orchestra


Anahata: Symphony No. 1 in One Movement (1984-86) -- 30'
4(2Picc.) 4(E.H.) 4(E-flat Cl., B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; 5Perc. Hp. Pno. Cel. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic
Premiere Information: Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Hugh Wolff, conductor; April 18, 1986
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41061)


Avatar for Orchestra -- 12'30"
4(4 also Picc.) 4(4=E.H.) 4(2 also Cb.Cl., 3=E-flat, 4=B.Cl.) 4(4 also Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Pno. Cel. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Philadelphia Orchestra
Premiere Information: Philadelphia Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach, conductor; September 18, 2003
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41196L)


Five Fires for Orchestra (1995) -- 9'
3(2Picc.) 3 4(E-flat Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Hp. Pno.(Cel.) Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz, conductor; May 10, 2001
Reviews


From Erebus and Black Night for Solo English Horn and Orchestra (1979, 1986) -- 20'
2 2 2 2 - 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: James Freeman and Swarthmore College
Premiere Information: Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Dorothy Freeman, English horn, James Freeman, conductor; November 21, 1986


Sea Changes (1990-1991) -- 24'
3 3 4 3 – 4 3 3 1; 4Perc. Hp. Pno. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by a consortium comprising the Indianapolis Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Aspen Music Festival, underwritten by the Meet the Composer/Readers Digest Commissioning Program
Premiere Information: January 1992. Indianapolis Symphony, conducted by Alfred Savia.


Suono Oscuro for Large Orchestra
Available From Composer


Symphony No. 2 (1992-94) -- 40'
5(2Picc., A.Fl.) 4(E.H.) 5(E-flat Cl., B.Cl., C-flat Cl.) 4(Cbsn.) - 4 4(in C) 4 1; Timp. 4-5Perc. Hp. Pno. Cel. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Koussevitzky Foundation and the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sir Simon Rattle, conductor; January 6, 1995
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41110)


Toward Light (2006) -- 9'30"
Solo Organ; 3(Picc.) 3 3(E(/B(/BCl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; 3Perc. Hp. Pno. Str. Perc.: 2 Triangles 3 Suspended Cymbals 5 Low to Medium Pitch Knobbed Gongs (e.g. Thai) 4 Low Steel Bell Plates 2 Tamtams)
Premiere Information: 11th May, 2006. Olivier Latry, Organ, Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA.
Reviews


Two Poems for Large Orchestra (1976, rev. 1977) -- 17'
3 3 4 3 - 4 3 3 1; 4Perc. Hp. Pno. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Original version premiere: Paris Conservatory Orchestra, Gerard Akoka, conductor, Salle Gaveau, Paris, May, 1976. Revised version premiere: New Jersey Symphony, Hugh Wolff, conductor; Carnegie Hall, New York, NY; April 15, 1987.
Reviews



Vocal


Black Magic/White Magic in 12 Short Movements for Soprano and 7 Players (1981) -- 21'
Soprano; Fl.(Picc., A.Fl), Ob.(E.H.), 2Cl.(2nd d. B.Cl.), Vln., Vcl., Pno.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: New England Conservatory Contemporary Ensemble, John Heiss, conductor, Mary Westbrook-Geha, soprano; March 4, 1982
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41070)


Consolation for Voice and Piano (1997) -- 3'
Published: #141-40049
Premiere Information: Barbara Ann Martin, voice and Marcantonio Barone, piano; Orchestra 2001 AIDS Quilt Songbook Benefit Concert, Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA; June, 1997
Recordings


In Dark (Three poems of the night) for Soprano and Seven Players (1972) -- 17'
Sop.; A.Fl. B.Fl. Vla. Vcl. Hp. Pno. 2Perc.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Judith Westcott and ensemble, Levinson, conductor; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; May, 1972
Additional Information: Texts by Robert Lax and Nanine Valen.
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41071)


In wind
Available From Composer


Job: a Canticle
Available From Composer


Recordings


At the Still Point of the Turning World, There the Dance Is for Chamber Ensemble


Albany Troy 838: At the Still Point



Morning Star Chorale for Piano, 4 Hands


Laurel Records No. LR-859: 20th Century American 4-Hand Piano Music
Elson-Swarthout Four Hand Piano Duo.



Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CD 642: Music of Gerald Levinson
James Freeman and Charles Abramovic, pianos; André Emelianoff, Peter Basquin, Paul Hostetter, Benjamin Ramirez.



Ragamalika Four Pieces for Solo Piano


Albany Records TROY936: "Here of Amazing Most Now"
Marcantonio Barone/Piano



Consolation for Voice and Piano


Albany Records TROY936: "Here of Amazing Now"
Barbara Ann Martin/Soprano, Marcantonio Barone/Piano



Duo: Winds of Light for Violin and Piano


Albany Records TROY936: "Here of Amazing Most Now"
Gregory Fulkerson/Violin, Charles Abramovic/Piano



Trio for Clarinet, Violoncello and Piano


Albany Records (recording in progress)
Marcantonio Barone, piano; Igor Begelman, clarinet; Clancy Newman, cello.



Albany Records TROY936: "Here of Amazing Now"
Igor Begelman/Clarinet, Clancy Newman/Cello, Marcantonio Barone/Piano



Contemporary Record Society Master Recordings CRS 8219: Chamber Art Soloists
John Russo, clarinet; Lori Barnett, cello; John Dulik, piano.



Dreamlight for Violoncello, Piano and Percussion


Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CD 642: Music of Gerald Levinson
James Freeman and Charles Abramovic, pianos; André Emelianoff, Peter Basquin, Paul Hostetter, Benjamin Ramirez.



Mountain Light for Symphonic Band


Albany Records TROY913: "Bronze Music"
Jordan Winds of the New England Conservatory, conducted by William Drury



Black Magic/White Magic in 12 Short Movements for Soprano and 7 Players


Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CD 642: Music of Gerald Levinson
Constance Beavon, mezzo-soprano; Orchestra 2001, James Freeman, conductor.



Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CD 847: Music of Our Time, Vol. 4 — Chant des Rochers
Orchestra 2001, James Freeman, conductor.



For the Morning of the World Suite for Chamber Orchestra


Albany Records TROY 742: usic of Gerald Levinson
Orchestra 2001, James Freeman, conductor.



In Dark (Three poems of the night) for Soprano and Seven Players


Albany Records TROY 277: Eastman American Music Series, Vol. 6
Elizabeth Fulford, soprano; Eastman Musica Nova, Sydney Hodkinson, conductor.



Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CRI 760: Music of Our Times, Vol. 2 — Night of the Four Moons
Carmen Pelton, soprano; Orchestra 2001, James Freeman, conductor.



Chant des Rochers for 11 Winds, Harp, Piano and Percussion


ALBANY TROY 742: Music of Gerald Levinson
Orchestra 2001, conducted by James Freeman.



Here of amazing most now Twelve Instrumental Miniatures in honor of George Crumb on his 70th birthday


Albany Records TROY936: "Here of Amazing Most Now"
Orchestra 2001, conducted by James Freeman



Time and the Bell… for Solo Piano and Chamber Ensemble


Albany Records TROY 742: Music of Gerald Levinson
Marcantonio Barone, piano; Orchestra 2001, James Freeman, conductor.



Reviews

"Gerald Levinson’s orchestration and instrumentation are admirable. His style, combining a highly expanded modern tonality with memories of the metallophones of Bali, is very beautiful, very original, sometimes powerful, always moving."

-Olivier Messiaen, Music and Color

"…there’s no denying [his] ornate, spell-casting music has potent sensual appeal."

-Mark Lehman, American Record Guide

"…an imaginative explorer of sonic landscapes and visionary epiphanies."

-Mark Lehman, American Record Guide

"Levinson has his own unusual and independent sensibility, and it’s well worth hearing."

-Scott Wheeler, Fanfare

"Levinson remains, moment by moment, sheerly gorgeous, with shimmering, iridescent harmonies and plush-velvet melodi[es] that spin on and on into the silence, like pyrotechnics against the night sky, decelerated into the slowest of slow motions."

-Mark Lehman, American Record Guide


Avatar for Orchestra

"The listener first introduced to the music of Gerald Levinson will almost surely be struck by the fact that his is an artistic voice that will not be contained by any of the factionalized ‘isms’ which have dominated our contemporary musical landscape in recent decades."

-Steven Johnson, The Los Angeles Philharmonic Times

"Gerald Levinson’s world is very much his own, a world of superb orchestral brilliance, vivid gesture, strong, pliable rhythm and long-reaching form… One might feel even that he has not invented but discovered the finest of his works as relics of an ancient civilization might be unexpectedly discovered in some jungle."

-Paul Griffiths

"…a most atmospheric listening experience… The score is not only very evocative— it’s also a model of colorful yet always tasteful orchestration. This is obviously some… music which is well worth hearing again."

-Bill Zakariasen, The New York Daily News

"…explores the emotional value of tension and release. After the initial clouds disperse, almost everything else sounds like supreme sweetness…cosmic quality."

-Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer

"…this lively piece had an aptly festive air…pointed orchestral textures and earthly percussion effects."

-George Loomis, Financial Times, London


Ragamalika Four Pieces for Solo Piano

"…one part Debussy and one part North Indian, and an exhilarating show of virtuosity."

-Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer

""[it] began with a beautifully spare series of notes sounded in octaves, so meditative and widely spaced as to suggest ripples on a pond."

-David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

"…un grand sens des couleurs et des rythmes."

-Didier van Moere, Concerto.net.com


Duo: Winds of Light for Violin and Piano

"…engaging…"

-Peter Dobrin, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"…a beautiful piece of chamber music that creates many a mood that lingers long after the music has ceased."

-Michael Caruso, News of Delaware County (PA)


Trio for Clarinet, Violoncello and Piano

"Its 7-minutes opening superimposes fast, skittery figures over slow, plangent bell-sounds, managing to be both active and agitated yet at the same time evoke a distant vista of unchanging timelessness. This remarkable movement, distant kin to the dazzling “Crystal Liturgy” that begins Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, exhibits Levinson’ genuine gifts at their best and remains in memory to haunt the mind’s ear."

-Mark Lehman, American Record Guide

"[Levinson] gave the clarinet a range of sonority from a low, husky call to sweet stratospheric melodies in which he vied with harmonics on the cello. The rhythmic vitality of the music brought boldly colored playing from all three."

-Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Mr. Levinson’s trio, which includes a dreamy chorale sequence embellished with glassy harmonies, is richly and imaginatively scored and skillfully put together."

-Joseph Horowitz, The New York Times

"…the first work I have heard by Gerald Levinson, but I sincerely hope it will not be the last…"

-Kari F. Miller, American Record Guide

"A captivating piece that combines a Crumb-like command of delicate, beautiful timbres and a sure sense of form."

-Andrew Porter, The New Yorker

"…almost surreal impressionistic moods… potently expressive…"

-Peter G. Davis, The New York Times


Dreamlight for Violoncello, Piano and Percussion

"…demonstrates his ability to create whole and convincing musical worlds between Western soul-searching and Oriental (Balinese) joy."

-Paul Griffiths, The New York Times

"Levinson’s distinctive voice makes his music immediately attractive, but with deep resonance that invites continued investigation."

-Daniel Webster, The Philadelphia Inquirer


Anahata: Symphony No. 1 in One Movement

"A masterpiece."

-OIivier Messiaen, Music and Color

"…signals a larger harmony of eastern and western musical thought."

-Paul Griffiths, The Times of London

"…impressed for its mighty sonorities, long breathed melodies, and often glorious percussion racket, inspired by music of Bali and North India."

-Bill Zakariasen, The New York Daily News

"A rich, colorful, and substantial composition… melismatic cries of hard, bright outline from clustered woodwinds; slow harmonic progress through deep, lush added-note chords; the crash and peal of gongs and bells… shimmering aftertones… well proportioned, admirably controlled, and beautiful."

-Andrew Porter, The New Yorker

"Gerald Levinson’s Anahata: Symphony No. 1 is an exuberant 30-minute work of tremendous inventions and aural seductiveness… with its utter sincerity and clear-skied, all encompassing horizons, this symphony, quite literally, ravishes you. When the final notes faded away, it was Leonard Bernstein, seated in the audience, who started the standing ovation."

-Anthony Tommasini, The Boston Globe

"With its thick, clangorous sounds, its pungent combinations of double reeds and other instruments, its rhythmic pulsation and its air of concentrated repose, Anahata is utterly original and, more important, highly communicative. Anahata projects a sense of serenity and balance— the feeling that there is something right."

-Ray Cooklis, The Cincinnati Enquirer

"A work of genius."

-Alan Hovhaness


Black Magic/White Magic in 12 Short Movements for Soprano and 7 Players

"…a garland of 12 little tone poems… instrumentally exotic and ingenious… Certainly it had a fresh, strong sensuous charge."

-Richard Buell, The Boston Globe

"…11 elliptical songs to an instrumental backdrop that shows the strength of the single instruments. Colors flow through this music, which accumulates mood through its references to Bali's music."

-Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Here and there one feels whiffs of a Balinese mode of flute or gamelan, but mostly this is personable, intensely pictorial Western music that serves the evocative poetry of Nanine Valen — the composer’s wife — very well indeed."

-John Rockwell, The New York Times

"Levinson seemed to revel in the color of those forces, creating big moments and flashing shafts of sound."

-Daniel Webster, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Levinson is particularly gifted at creating harmonies whose voicings and intervals (and extensive use of winds as coloring) take on the quality of exotic 'meta-instruments.' It's almost as though the whole ensemble were a single, large instrument playing in a wholly natural, yet alternative, tuning."

-Robert Carl, Fanfare


Five Fires for Orchestra

"…a huge orchestral palette with dense scoring and motifs based on a Balinese scale. At times, the orchestra sounds like a gigantic gamelan, with all the gongs, bells and other percussion. It's an exuberant work with great spirit…"

-Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times


For the Morning of the World Suite for Chamber Orchestra

"…a strongly colored tour of the sonority and mood of some Balinese musical expression. His wide range of enthralling percussion sounds — gongs and chiming metallic shimmers — complete the picture."

-Daniel Webster, The Philadelphia Inquirer


In Dark (Three poems of the night) for Soprano and Seven Players

"Shadowy, veiled, and mysterious… the arcing finale has the timelessness of the ‘Ewig’s’ in Das Lied."

-Benjamin Pernick, Fanfare

"…brimmed with melodic fervor, beguiling lyricism and instrumental color."

-Daniel Webster, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Atmospheric and evocative."

-American Record Guide

"…a brooding, moody piece of considerable beauty."

-Peter Dobrin, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Just as the sea itself is music, Levinson’s work is not merely music, but also a state of mind, of sensing with your whole being… The rocking waves, splashing foam, sounds of ships and gulls — the very speech of the sea — are relived."

-Sharon McDaniel, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

"…attractive, bracing piece…"

-Jay Harvey, The Indianapolis Star


Symphony No. 2

"It is in the third movement… where a kernel of human drama and tragedy is introduced, that engages the listener beyond a mere contemplative admiration. This is a beautiful, moving movement in which Levinson’s gifts seem at their full power."

-Scott Duncan, The Orange County Register


Two Poems for Large Orchestra

"Quite primal in its outer sections, Levinson expertly suggests the Hautes Alpes' craggy peaks and glaciers. And he hints at the landscape's soft beauty by way of the crystalline sounds of the harp and bells. The incorporation of the piano into this orchestral work is superb. Its role as a percussion instrument is clearly defined by the composer's separation of winds and percussion in color as well as groupings."

-Laurie Hudicek, New Music Connoisseur

"The two-part Levinson premiere was a craggy, 16-minute nature-evoking soundscape that showed real capability in handling large instrumental forces."

-Robert Kimball, The New York Post


Time and the Bell… for Solo Piano and Chamber Ensemble

"Levinson’s “Time and the Bell” draws on Balinese gamelan sounds and the rhythms of Indian raga, to pungent effect."

-John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune


Time and the Bell… for Solo Piano and Chamber Ensemble

"Levinson’s colorful and approachable new work… covers an impressively broad range of expression and dynamism with polished economy."

-Peter Burwasser, Citypaper

"Levinson’s piece, full of bell sounds and brimming with Asian atmospheres, was a swift conflation of musical styles of two worlds… an intriguing Western take on Indian thought."

-Daniel Webster, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A rare gem… Levinson’s imaginative writing and colorful instrumental timbres conjure up vivid imagery… The result is a meditative, thought-provoking (and mood-evoking) journey whose six movements take the listener through a seemingly endless array of irresistible, modal flavors."

-David Abrams, The Syracuse Post-Standard


Toward Light

"…splashes of color…rich in astringent dissonance."

-James Oestreich, New York Times

"…a huge but alluring array of ideas and timbres…"

-David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Gerald Levinson's Toward Light was the most satisfying performance of the organ-extravaganza program. Its angular, colour-rich spectrum captivated from the opening measures."

-S. James Wegg, www.jamesweggreview.org

"…full of arresting, modernistic sonorities…in a firm rhythmic framework."

-George Loomis, Financial Times (London)




Page last updated April 11, 2011