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Gerald Levinson

Jane Lang Professor of Music

Gerald Levinson

Professor Levinson has been increasingly recognized as one of the major composers of his generation. His vocal, chamber, and orchestral works have been widely performed in the U.S., France, and England, and in 1990, he received the Music Award (for lifetime achievement) of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has received awards from BMI, the New England Conservatory, East and West Artists, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts (two fellowships).

His monumental Second Symphony was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. In 1997 his Five Fires was broadcast worldwide by the BBC as one of 15 semifinalists (from 1300 scores worldwide) in the London-based Masterprize Competition for orchestral music. Five Fires was awarded the Prix International Arthur Honegger de Composition Musicale for 1998. Recently he has been commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra to write Avatar (2003) for the opening concert of Christoph Eschenbach's tenure as music director, as well as Toward Light (2006) for organ and orchestra, for the dedication of the new organ in the Orchestra's concert hall. In 2007 he received the Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Levinson has taught at Swarthmore College, where he is the Jane Lang Professor of Music, since 1977. He spent 1979-80 in Bali as a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar, studying Balinese music and composing, and returned there in 1982-83 as a Guggenheim Fellow. His principal teachers were George Crumb, George Rochberg, and Richard Wernick at the University of Pennsylvania; Ralph Shapey at the University of Chicago, and Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory.


Watch a feature about Gerald Levinson's thoughts on composing. It includes audio of his works and the story of his commission of Toward Light (2006) by the Philadelphia Orchestra to dedicate its new organ.
Gerald Levinson - Composer

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