Sir Gilbert Levine (b.
January 22, 1948in Brooklyn, New York) is a distinguished American conductor. [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/july/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20050729_missa-colonia_ge.html Grußbotschaft von Papst Benedikt XVI. anläßlich der Aufführung der »Missa solemnis« im Kölner Dom ] ]
Levine has conducted major orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the
Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the Bayerischer Staatsorchester, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the WDR Symphony Orchestra( Köln), and the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has conducted televised concerts on PBSand the European Broadcasting Unionand has performed for Pope John Paul IIon numerous occasions. According to the German/Austrian/Swiss television network, 3SAT, "American conductor Gilbert Levine counts as one of the leading figures in the world of music on international television." In 2001, American television’s most respected news magazine, CBS “60 Minutes”, profiled Levine in a segment entitled “The Pope’s Maestro” created by the same team that also that produced stories on maestros Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, and Gustavo Dudamel. [http://tv.yahoo.com/60-minutes/show/28491/season/27847] ] In 2008, Muso, the British classical music magazine, profiled Sir Gilbert Levine in its "Living Legends" series, which has included such eminent contemporary conductors as Sir Colin Davisand Pierre Boulez.http://www.musolife.com/sir-gilbert-levine.html]
Levine attended the
JuilliardSchool of Music, and holds degrees from both Princeton University(A.B.) and Yale University(M.A.). He studied bassoonwith Stephen Maxymand Sherman Walt, pianowith Gilbert Kalish, Music Historywith Lewis Lockwood and Arthur Mendel, Music Theorywith Edward T. Cone, Peter Westergaardand Milton Babbitt, ear training and score reading with Nadia Boulanger, Renée Longy, and Luise Vosgerchian, and conducting with Jacques-Louis Monodand Franco Ferrara.Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: "Sir Gilbert Levine", http://www.pittsburghsymphony.org/bios/levine.doc]
He was assistant to Sir
Georg Soltiin Londonand Paris, working with Sir Georg at Royal Opera House(Covent Garden), L' Orchestre de Paris, and on the RCArecording of Puccini La Boheme. Levine was also a protegé of the German conductor Klaus Tennstedt, working with Maestro Tennstedt on his Mahler symphony cycle both in the concert hall and on recordings for EMI.
Sir Gilbert Levine has lectured at
Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale Universityinter alia and has taught conducting both at Yale and the Manhattan School of Music. [http://www.princeton.edu/arts/news/archive/u.s.-premiere-of-the-7th-/index.xml U.S. Premiere of the 7th Public Television Special by Princeton University Alumnus Sir Gilbert Levine '71 - Lewis Center for the Arts ] ] His conducting students have included the noted American composer, Aaron Kernis. Levine maintains current ties to his two alma maters. He serves as a member of the Princeton University Department of Music Advisory Council and has recently been appointed to a fifth term as Associate Fellow of Trumbull College/Yale by the Yale Corporation, that university's highest governing body.
Early career and the Krakow Philharmonic years
Early in his career, Levine conducted orchestras both in Europe and the United States, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the NDR Sinfonie-Orchester Hamburg, and the Radio-Sinfonie Orchester-Berlin, this last in a performance of
Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, which was recorded for release on CD.
He first gained international notice when he became conductor and artistic director of the
Kraków Philharmonicin 1987. He was the first American to take charge of an Eastern European orchestra, succeeding such conductors as Sir Andrzej Panufnikand Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.
Levine guided the orchestra in the difficult final period of communist rule, through the tumultuous political events of 1989-90, and into the current post-totalitarian era. All this fundamental change was mirrored in the life of the Krakow Philharmonic as well.
Under Levine's direction, the Krakow Philharmonic's international reputation increased greatly. The orchestra toured extensively in Europe (the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and France), Asia (including the first-ever visit by any Polish ensemble to South Korea in 1989), and in North America, where in 1993, it appeared in major concert halls such as
Kennedy Centerin Washington D.C.and Lincoln Centerin New York City, respectively, Symphony Hallin Boston, and Severance Hallin Cleveland, Ohio. Under his baton, the Krakow Philharmonic also performed for the first time with such soloists as Emanuel Ax, Garrick Ohlsson, and Shlomo Mintz. It also recorded for international labels and made numerous television and radio broadcasts, both in Poland and abroad.http://www.filharmonia.krakow.pl/index.php?PID=13&Loading=Done]
Concerts for Pope John Paul II and pontifical knighthood
In 1988, while working in
Kraków, Levine met Pope John Paul II. The Pope invited Levine to Rome for a tête-à-tête in the Pontiff's private library in the Vatican. Following that meeting, the Pope asked Gilbert Levine to conduct the concert commemorating the 10th anniversary of his Pontificate. [http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/lkl.01.html CNN.com - Transcripts ] ] This concert was originally broadcast by RAI, Italian television, and throughout Europe via Eurovision. It was subsequently broadcast and re-broadcast on Public Television in the U.S. over the next 17 years.
In 1993, Levine conducted for the Pope before an audience of more than half a million at
World Youth Dayin Denver. That program included the first performances of works by Bernstein, Barber, and Copland at any Papal event. It was televised world-wide.
In 1994, Levine (whose mother-in-law was an
Auschwitzsurvivor) conducted the historic "Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah ( Holocaust)," which marked the first official Vatican commemoration of the Nazi genocide of World War II, and was front page news throughout the world. Veverka, Fayette Breaux: PRACTICING FAITH: NEGOTIATING IDENTITY AND DIFFERENCE IN A RELIGIOUSLY PLURALISTIC WORLD. Religious Education, Winter 2004. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3783/is_200401/ai_n9358453/pg_9] The orchestra for this concert was the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The soloist was American cellist Lynn Harrell. Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfussnarrated an excerpt from Leonard BernsteinThird Symphony (Kaddish).
In 1998, Sir Gilbert Levine led members of the
Los Angeles Philharmonicand, with the special permission of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the ancient Capella Giulia Choir of Saint Peter’s Basilica, in a series of concerts to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the founding of Mission San Luis Reyin California. These festival concerts constituted the first-ever visit of this 500 year- old choir to the Western Hemisphere. The San Luis Rey concerts were broadcast on NPR’s “ Performance Today”. [http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/textonly/feb6txt.htm February 6 DAILY CATHOLIC TEXT Section One (feb6txt.htm) ] ]
Additional Papal concerts at the Vatican under the direction of Gilbert Levine included the first of two concerts celebrating the Catholic Church's Grand Jubilee in 2000 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus performing parts one and two of Haydn The Creation [http://www.mpt.org/programsinterests/mpt/jubileeconcert/ The Jubilee Creation Concert ] ] (
Riccardo Muticonducted the other Grand Jubilee Papal concert, leading Vienna Philharmonicand the Arnold Schönberg Choir of Vienna in portions of Bach Mass in B Minor). Levine also conducted a 2003 televised musical celebration of the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's pontificate with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Saint Peter's Basilica, a concert which aired on the American Broadcasting Company(ABC).
In 2004, Sir Gilbert Levine conducted his last concert for Pope John Paul II, leading the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra along with members of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the London Philharmonic Choir, the Krakow Philharmonic Choir, and the Ankara Polyphonic Choir in the "Papal Concert of Reconciliation." This event marked the first time that any American orchestra had performed for any Pope in the Vatican. The concert, which was broadcast worldwide, included the
MahlerSecond Symphony (Resurrection), and "Abraham," a specially-commissioned motetby Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer John Harbison. [http://www.wqed.org/press/papal_concert.shtml WQED Pittsburgh: Media-Only Press Room ] ] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3255607.stm BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Orchestra to make Vatican history ] ] [http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/20031108pope1108p1.asp Pittsburgh Symphony to perform for pope ] ]
Over the 17 years of his relationship with John Paul II, Levine became known as "the Pope's Maestro." In 1994, for his services to the Pope and to the Vatican, he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great, the highest Papal knighthood accorded to a non-ecclesiastical musician since
Mozart. Gouveia, Georgette. Writings revealed John Paul as a pope with an artist's soul "The Journal News", 2005. http://www.lohud.com/pope/writing.htm ] cite web |url=http://www.telarc.com/biography/bios.asp?aid=56 |title=Telarc International: Gilbert Levine |accessdate=2006-12-23 |format= |work= ]
Also in 2005, Pope John Paul II's successor,
Pope Benedict XVI, awarded Levine a further Papal honor by bestowing upon him the Silver Star of Saint Gregory, the highest rank of pontifical nobility achieved by a Jew in the history of the Vatican.
Beginning in 1997, Levine has toured with three eminent London orchestras: the Royal Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He and the Royal Philharmonic received critical praise for their recording of
In 2000, Levine was named Artistic Director and Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra "Millennium Creation Series." In this capacity he toured America and Europe, performing
HaydnThe Creation in televised concerts in Baltimore, London, and Rome. [http://www.kofc.org/un/news/events/detail.cfm?id=30903 Maestro Gilbert Levine ] ]
In the same year, Levine led the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir in televised performances of excerpts of
GoreckiThird Symphony and BeethovenNinth Symphony, joining the Berlin Philharmonicunder Bernard Haitinkand the New York Philharmonicunder Kurt Masurin performing in Krakow during the city's reign as the European Capital of Culture. On this occasion, Levine received the Krakow Gold Medallion from the city, in recognition of his services to Krakow's cultural life.
He again led the LPO in 2003, conducting selections of Verdi and Mozart on ABC's "
Good Morning America" in a historic first for that program.
In 2002-2003, Levine also opened the concert season of the Montreal Symphony and led the Dresden Staatskapelle with the Munchener Bachchor in
BrahmsRequiem in Krakow. This concert was broadcast throughout Europe as well as webcast. From 2004 to 2006, Levine led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a series of high-profile concerts entitled "Music for the Spirit," which included a standing room-only performance of the VerdiRequiem in Heinz Hallwith the Mendelssohn Choir in 2004, a January 2006 concert with both these ensembles to commemorate the 100th anniversary of St. Paul's Cathedral in Pittsburgh of Haydn's The Creation, and a June 2006 concert of MahlerThird Symphony.
In November 2005, Sir Gilbert led the
Orchestra of Saint Lukesand the Morgan State UniversityChoir in the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. That national concert, entitled “Rejoice in this Land,” included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the world premiere of "Washington Speaks" by Richard Danielpour, which was narrated by ABC news anchor Ted Koppel. [http://www.kofc.org/un/news/events/detail.cfm?id=38813 'Rejoice In This Land' Concert ] ] The performance was broadcast throughout the United States both on terrestrial radio in major cities and on XM Satellite Radio.
In 2005 and again in 2007, Levine conducted concerts from
Cologne Cathedralwhich were televised live in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The first of these included a performance of BeethovenMissa Solemnis with the Royal Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic Choir in what critics called "a sovereign and highly disciplined interpretation." The latter concert, with the WDR Symphonieorchester (Köln), the WDR Rundfunk Chor (Köln), and the NDR Chor (Hamburg) included the BrucknerNinth Symphony and Bruckner Te Deum.
Over the course of his distinguished career, Levine has collaborated with such soloists as
Mitsuko Uchida, Yo-Yo Ma, Jaime Laredo, Salvatore Accardo, Benita Valente, Jerry Hadley, John Relyea, Elisabeth Söderström, Monica Groop, Lynn Harrell, Christiane Olze, Anja Harteros, Wolfgang Holzmair, Franz Josef Selig, Philip Langridge, CBE, and Sir John Tomlinson.
On television Sir Gilbert Levine has been featured on many occasions, both as a news subject and in concert. In addition to his appearance on "Good Morning America," and his numerous performances on European television, a major profile of him, entitled “The Pope’s Maestro”, appeared on the
CBSnewsmagazine “ 60 Minutes.” Other stories about him have been featured on such programs as “ CBS Evening News,” “ CBS Sunday Morning” (on which he was profiled by Eugenia Zukerman), “ ABC World News Tonight” and “ABC Nightline” with Ted Koppel, as well as on both “ Larry King Live” and “ The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer, on CNN. He is also a frequent guest on National Public Radio, on such programs as "Symphony Cast," "Performance Today," and “ All Things Considered.”http://www.europamusicale.com/10gedenk/eng/e-bio_05.html]
In addition to the reception of the "Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah" and the response to his 2005 performance of the Missa Solemnis, Levine received critical acclaim for his
Telarcrecording of the TchaikovskyThird Symphony, with the American Record Guide stating, “There cannot be a more beautiful recording” and The Timesgiving it “Three Star Highest Rating.” Also receiving praise was Levine's CD of music by Benjamin Britten on the Arabesque label with the English Chamber Orchestraand soprano Elisabeth Söderström, which The New York Timesdescribed as “spectacular,” selecting the recording as the “Pick of the Week” for several weeks running.
Sir Gilbert Levine has enjoyed particular success conducting major orchestras on world-wide television, many in their U.S. television debut.
These concerts include:
1988--"A Musical Offering from the Vatican"--Orchestra of RAI/Roma, Choirs of RAI, Krakow Philharmonic and Warsaw Philharmonic--
BrahmsAve Maria, Penderecki Stabat Mater, Dvořák Mass in D; Original Broadcaster: RAI/Roma/European Broadcast Union, PBS [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238431/ A Musical Offering from the Vatican: A Papal Concert (1992) (TV) ] ] --Released on VHS by View Video
1994--"Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah"--Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Coro della Filharmonia Romana--Bruch Kol Nidre,
BeethovenNinth Symphony (Third Movement), SchubertPsalm 92, Excerpt of the BernsteinThird Symphony ("Kaddish"), Bernstein Chichester Psalms(Movements 2 and 3) --Original Broadcaster: RAI/EBU, PBS (WNET)--Released on VHS by Rhino
2000--Concert for the 80th Birthday of His Holiness Pope John Paul II--
HaydnThe Creation--Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus--Original Broadcaster: RAI/EBU [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2000/apr-jun/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20000518_concert-holy-father_en.html Concert at Paul VI Hall ] ]
2000--"A Thousand Years of Music and Spirit"--London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir--
Bogurodzica, GoreckiThird Symphony (Second Movement), BeethovenNinth Symphony--Original Broadcaster: Telewizja Polska--WTTW (Chicago)/APT [http://www.aptonline.org/catalog.nsf/0/61B00081BCAA689885256B5700583106 American Public Television ] ]
2002--Concert in Commemoration of the 1st Anniversary of the Terror Attacks of September 11th--Sachsisch Staatskapelle Dresden and Munchener Bachchor--Barber
Agnus Dei, GoreckiTotus Tuus, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem--Original Broadcaster: Telewizja Polska/EBU [http://www.andante.com/article/print.cfm?id=18326&varticletype=NEWS andante - classical music - article ] ] [http://www.usinfo.pl/krakow/releases/koncert.htm US Consulate General Krakow Press Releases ] ]
2004--"Papal Concert of Reconciliation"--Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the London Philharmonic Choir, the Krakow Philharmonic Choir, and the Ankara Polyphonic Choir--Harbison Abraham (World Premiere),
MahlerSecond Symphony (First, Fourth, and Fifth Movements) --Original Broadcaster: RAI/EBU, WQED (Pittsburgh)/PBS--Released on DVD by WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh
2005--"Crossing the Bridge of Faiths: Im Memoriam Pope John Paul II"--Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden and Munchener Bachchor--
GoreckiTotus Tuus, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem--Original Broadcaster: WQED (Pittsburgh)/PBSBeethoven Missa Solemnis--Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir--Original Broadcaster: WDR (Köln)/3SAT [http://www.wdr.de/tv/gottunddiewelt/vorschau/sendungen/missa_solemnis_140805.phtml Vorschau ] ] --Released on DVD by Arthaus
BrucknerNinth Symphony, Bruckner Te Deum--WDR Sinfonieorchester (Köln), WDR Rundfunkchor (Köln), NDR Chor (Hamburg)--Original Broadcaster: WDR (Köln)/3SAT [http://www.3sat.de Willkommen bei 3sat.online ] ]
2008--“From Heart to Heart: Beethoven’s Plea for Peace”. The U.S. Public Television version of the “Missa Solemnis” from Cologne Cathedral. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir - Co-production of WDR/Koln and Peter Rosen Productions, Inc. Original Broadcaster: WQED Multimedia/Pittsburgh and American Public Television (APT). [http://www.mpt.org/pressroom/pr/prdisplay.cfm?pruid=08040701 MPT PressRoom: Press Release ] ]
elected audio recordings
Mussorgsky-- Pictures at an Exhibition--RSO Berlin--Capriccio [http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0009GV1ZI/sacdinfocom08-21 Amazon.co.uk: Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (Piano & Orchestral Versions): Music: Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky,Gilbert Levine ] ] Britten-- Simple Symphony, Op. 4, Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10--Les Illuminations, Op. 18 (Elisabeth Söderström) --English Chamber Orchestra--Arabesque [http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000000T7C?SubscriptionId=082XWGWDMM6FQ5WMW2R2 Amazon.com: Britten: Les Illuminations (Song Cycle) Op. 18; Simple Symphony Op4; Variations on Theme by Frank Bridge Op10: Music: Benjamin Britten,Gilbert Levine,English Chamber Orchestra,Elisabeth Söderström ] ] Shostakovich--First Symphony, Op. 10, Age of Gold, Op. 22 (Excerpts), Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and Strings, Op. 35 ( Garrick Ohlsson, Maurice Murphy)--Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra--Arabesque [http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000000T7I Amazon.com: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1; Concerto; Age of Gold: Music: Waldyslaw Zmijowski,Dmitry Shostakovich,Gilbert Levine,Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra,Garrick Ohlsson,Maurice Murphy ] ]
Papal Concert to Commemorate the Holocaust--Bruch
Kol Nidrei, BeethovenNinth Symphony (Movement 3), SchubertPsalm 92, BernsteinThird Symphony (Excerpt) and Chichester Psalms(Movements 2 and 3) -- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Lynn Harrell, Richard Dreyfuss(Narrator)--Justice Tchaikovsky--Third Symphony, Op. 29-- Rimsky-Korsakov--Piano Concerto, Op. 30 ( Jeffrey Campbell)-- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra--Telarc [http://www.telarc.com/gscripts/title.asp?gsku=0454&mscssid=U60W9KPL63WW8HRA7B43S4KWN3FT5X5B Telarc International: ] ] Wagner--Orchestral Excerpts-- Parsifal(Prelude and Good Friday Spell), Tristan und Isolde(Prelude and Liebestod), Tannhäuser (Overture and Entrance into the Hall), Siegfried Idyll--London Philharmonic Orchestra--Recorded for syndicated radio and XM Satellite Radio, broadcast by WFMT (Chicago)http://www.radioexchange.org/pieces/17306]
* [http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/gilbert_levine/ Gilbert Levine quotes at ThinkExist.com]
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