Mr. Levy served as the first composer in residence for the Concert Artist Program at Kean University in Union, NJ for the 2008-2009 season. Two new works by Mr. Levy have been commissioned and performed by the University to commemorate the inauguration of Kean’s new “state of the art” chamber music hall which will opened in the Fall of 2009.
A former member of the St Louis Symphony, the first of a long list of orchestras, ensembles and chamber music groups, Frank Ezra Levy is retired as professional cellist but continues to compose prolifically. Large works include a four-act comic opera, a cantata, nine symphonies, several other orchestral pieces, a variety of works for chorus and orchestra, voice and orchestra and a-cappela choir as well as 20 concertos. Most of the rest of his 185 published works, including his twelve string quartets, are mostly chamber music, an extraordinary variety of pieces for 1-15 instruments, often in highly unusual combinations.
Four of Levy’s orchestral work, including his Second Cello Concerto,recorded September (2004) by the Irish National Orchestra for Naxos Records, were released December 13, 2005 on the American Masters series. Among his recent commissions (for the Duo Fresco) is a Duo Concertante for Viola and Guitar, which has been performed frequently by this group, a Trio for Flute, Clarinet and piano commissioned by the Palisades Virtuosi, as well as a duo, “Mythic Transformations”, for Viola and Clarinet and a Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano for the Halcyon Trio. Some other of his most recent works are: a Cantata, “Six Dreams and a Vision”, on poems by Ruth Pitter, his third trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, Five Songs on poems by W. B. Yeats, a Fantasy Concertante for Clarinet, Viola and Double Choir called “To Peace with Love”, four songs on poems by E.A. Poe for Voice and Guitar, a concerto for Tenor Saxophone, Guitar and String Orchestra and “Six Haiku for our time” for Soprano, Clarinet Guitar, Percussion, Viola, Bass and Piano.
In the late Spring of 2005 I was approached by Brett Deubner and Chris Kenniff to write a piece for their group, the Duo Fresco, which had been formed the previous year and had already attained some degree of success. Both the combination of instruments as well as the skill of the players intrigued me and I set to work.
The Duo Concertante was completed in just three weeks and was finished at the beginning of June 2005. It is in six movements. The first movement introduces the ensemble. The second is for the viola alone. The two central movements, the third and fourth, are both ensemble movements while the fifth is for the guitar alone. In the sixth movement, a rondo, both instruments build to an intense and brilliant ending. The opening of the first movement appears in different guises throughout the various movements emphasizing the arch like overall structure of the work.
I have tried to maintain the individual character of both instruments while striving towards the maximum rhythmic, melodic and harmonic effects in order to achieve as much impact as possible out of this limited combination of instruments.
21 January 2011
On Sunday, March 6, 2011, an important premiere will be taking place of Night Keeps its Promise, a work written expressly for and to be performed at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East 88th Street, New York City, by Cantori New York under the ...