Biography

Frank Ezra Levy

Frank Ezra Levy, born in Paris, France, son of the legendary Swiss pianist and composer, Ernst Levy, began his musical education after emigrating to the U.S. in 1939, where he first studied cello privately and then theory and composition with Hugo Kauder. Levy attended the Juilliard School, studying cello with Leonard Rose and graduating in 1951 with a B.S. degree. He studied musicology at the University of Chicago where he received his M.A. in 1954. While in Chicago he also continued his cello studies, this time with Janos Starker.  He has spent his lifetime composing while earning his living as a professional cellist. Presently, he has 239 published works including 15 Symphonies, 20 String Quartets and many other orchestral, vocal and chamber works.

Four of Levy’s orchestral works, 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. Naxos has released three more Levy recording, one of his First Cello Concerto along with his father's Cello Concerto, one of the Halcyon Trio performing various works for Viola, Clarinet and Piano and, finally, one of other of viola works featuring Brett Deubner, violist and Gary Kirkpatrick, pianist. The Palisades Chamber Players recorded Levy's Trio #2 for Flute, Clarinet and Piano on Albany Records. Five of Levy's works are being recorded this August 22 for Guild with the Toulouse Chamber Orchestra featuring Hana Gubenko, violist, Timon Altwegg, pianist and Gilles Colliard, conductor. In 2015 Hana Gubenko and Timon Altwegg previously recorded two  of Levy's viola sonatas, also for Guild.

Among his commissions (for the Duo Fresco) is a Duo Concertante for Viola and Guitar, which has been performed frequently by this group, 2 Quintets for Strings (with DB) for Kean University, a Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano for The Palisades Chamber Players along with numerous others.

Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano commissioned by the Palisades Virtuosi, as well as a duo, “Mythic Transformations”, for Viola and Clarinet and two Trios for Clarinet, Viola and Piano for the Halcyon Trio. Among some of his more 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.

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 were commissioned by the University: a String Quintet with DB and a song Cycle for Soprano and 9 instrumentalists, originally to commemorate the inauguration of Kean’s new “state of the art” chamber music hall which was to open in the Fall of 2009, but whose opening was postponed to 2010. Among his other recent premieres was the March 6, 2011 performance of “ Night Keeps its Promise” for Guitar, Baritone Solo and Chorus, written for and performed by Mark Shapiro and Cantori NY at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan. Three albums of Mr. Levy’s chamber works have been released digitally by Naxos in April 2014. There were numerous premieres and recordings of Levy’s works scheduled for 2014 both in Europe and in the US. These included a recording of his first and second Viola Sonatas featuring Swiss pianist Timon Altweg and his wife Hana Altwegg as soloists, released by the Swiss recording label Guild in October, 2015, a performance in Switzerland of his Quartet for Violin, Viola, Horn and Piano in June and a projected recording, scheduled by Guild for August 22,2016, of four concertos for various instruments and String Orchestra, featuring the Toulouse Chamber Orchestra with Timon and Hana Altwegg as soloists. Among the works performed in the US in 2015 were a song cycle for Baritone, Viola and Piano on poems by Emily Dickinson, a trio for Clarinet, Viola and Bassoon, both as part of the Glen Rock, NJ, Music and More series, as well as a Concerto for Viola and Wind Ensemble performed on March 1, 2015 by the Omaha Symphonic Winds, William Hall conducting and the world premiere of his Divertimento Concertante for Viola, Piano and  String Orchestra by the Olympia Philharmonic Society, San Gabriel, CA , Brett Deubner, violist, Inna Falkiks, pianist and Fung Ho, music director and conductor.