Gary Levinson Gary Levinson


My New York Years
by Gary Levinson

Release Date: June 1, 2007
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I chose the title “My New York Years” after much discussion with colleagues, family and friends. Their ideas were insightful, humorous, and touching. We all wanted it to be a personal statement about the music and its meaning. Framing the thought process in that manner, the title became apparent.

Each work recorded on this disc evokes wonderful personal memories, in part because I first performed them in New York City.

My father and I played the Mozart Sonatas at Avery Fisher Hall. Our friends in the audience were surprised how effective it was, given the difference in tessitura between the two instruments and the size of the performance space. Martinů wrote the Madrigals for Joseph and Lillian Fuchs. Lillian was one of my most influential chamber music pedagogues. Decades after their premiere, she taught them to me in her Juilliard studio, lovingly and with total abandon,

Late one night while studying for a Juilliard music history exam I heard the mellifluous voice of WQXR’s Nimet Habachi introduce the Heifetz-Primrose-Piatigorsky recording of the Beethoven D major string trio. It robbed me of 40 minutes of study time and rewarded me with a lifelong relationship with this glorious piece. Since then I have performed it many times, including several occasions with the players on this CD.

The Prokofiev Sonata op. 94a is one of the pillars of the violin/piano literature. I fondly remember playing through this work for the legendary Dorothy DeLay, often late into the night on her fifth floor corner studio overlooking the Metropolitan Theater, and having her hear it at my graduate recital.
Thus everything on this disc has the indelible mark of New York City, its flavor, culture and people. The title is both a tribute to the city I came to regard as home in 1984 and a testament to the role it has played in my musical life.