A LIFE IN MUSIC
Gary Levinson enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician and a pedagogue. In 2013 he accepted the prestigious post of Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth. Praised for his intense musicality and adroit technique by American and European critics, he has served as the Senior Principal Associate Concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony since 2002. He was chosen by Zubin Mehta to join the New York Philharmonic before the completion of his undergraduate degree from the Juilliard School in 1988. Mr. Levinson then made his New York Philharmonic solo debut in 1991, under the baton of Erich Leinsdorf, coinciding with the completion of his Master’s of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where his teachers included Dorothy DeLay, Glenn Dicterow and Felix Galimir.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Levinson began studying the violin at the age of five with Professor Sergeev at the Leningrad Special Music School. After immigrating to the United States in 1977, he won the top prize at the 1986 Romano Romanini International Violin Competition in Brescia, Italy, as well as becoming the top American Prize winner at the 1987 Jacques Thibaud International Violin Competition in Paris, France.
As a soloist, Mr. Levinson has collaborated with Erich Leinsdorf, Jaap van Zweden, Raffaele Ponti and others. Much sought-after as a chamber musician, Mr. Levinson has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Eugenia Zukerman, Lukas Foss, Joseph Kalichstein, Christopher O’Riley and Adam Neiman. Along with Daredjan Kakouberi and Jesus Castro-Balbi, they perform as Petrus Trio internationally. In March 1998, Mr. Levinson was appointed as the first violinist of the Elysium String Quartet, with which he performed on their regular Weill Hall Series at Carnegie Hall. He led the inaugural season of the Mykonos International Music Festival in August 1998 as well as a gala concert honoring the Elysium String Quartet at the United States Ambassador’s Residence in Athens, Greece.
The summer season takes him to various music festivals, such as the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the Sunflower Music Festival, the Florida Music Festival in Sarasota, Florida, the Utah Music Festival in Park City, Utah and the Arcady Music Festival in Maine. He served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival from 2001-2010. Abroad, he was featured in the 2015 Moti Armonica Festival in Milan, the Banhoff Rolandseck Festival, Germany in 1990 and South Korea in 1990 and 1994.
A champion of contemporary music, Mr. Levinson recorded the Margaret Brouwer Violin Concerto under the baton of 2012 Musical America’s Conductor of the Year, Jaap van Zweden in 2012. He premiered and recorded several works dedicated to Mr. Levinson by award winning Iranian composer, Behzad Ranjbaran. In 1996 he, along with his father, renowned double bassist Eugene Levinson, recorded the world premiere for CALA Records of Dances of Life, a bass and violin duo, written for and dedicated to the Levinsons. Mr. Levinson also collaborated with New York Philharmonic Principal English Hornist Thomas Stacy in a CD for CALA’s New York Legends series. He recorded mixed ensemble chamber works of George Tsontakis, with a recording to be released under the E1International label. In it he is collaborating with Lawrence Dutton, Melvin Chen, Robert Jolley, Sophie Shao and others.
The complete Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas with acclaimed pianist Daredjan Kakouberi were released in August, 2011. The Vivaldi Four Seasons and the Brouwer Violin Concerto were released in 2014. His CD, "My New York Years", debuted to critical acclaim in January 2007. In the summer of 1999, Mr. Levinson completed a critically acclaimed all Mozart CD, featuring the Elysium String Quartet and three New York Philharmonic principals – Stanley Drucker, clarinet, Joseph Robinson, oboe and L. William Kuyper, French Horn. The American Record Guide hailed it “utterly Mozartean…full of good spirits and a real sense of occasion”. The CD is currently available. In the summer of 1999, Lucas Foss chose Mr. Levinson and the ESQ to collaborate with him on an all-Bach CD of works never before recorded in that artists’ distinguished career.
Mr. Levinson performs on an Antonio Stradivari violin, crafted in 1726. It is graciously made available for his use by the Dallas Symphony Association.