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Russian-born Ilya Levinson (b. 1958) graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory where he studied composition with Alexander Pirumov and orchestration with Edison Denisov. After immigrating to the United States in1988, Levinson completed a Ph.D. in Composition at the University of Chicago where his training included instruction from Ralph Shapey, Shulamit Ran, John Eaton, and Howard Sandroff.
Levinson's catalogue includes four operas, four musicals, various symphonic and chamber music compositions, film scores and original music for theatre productions. In 1997 and 2003 Mr. Levinson received the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Music Composition. His musical American Klezmer was produced in Los Angeles by West Coast Jewish Theatre in February and March 2006. His Klezmer Rhapsody is recorded by the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band on Shanachie label.
Levinson's music has been performed by Contemporary Chamber Players, CUBE Contemporary Music Ensemble, Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, among others. Levinson's monodrama, "The Tell-Tale Heart," (after E.A. Poe) was commissioned by CUBE in 2001 and performed to critical acclaim. His "Chicago Fantasy," written for American Music Festivals where Mr. Levinson is a composer-in-residence, was premiered on July 4, 2000 with the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra in Bolshoi Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Phil Simmons, conducting. It was subsequently performed by Presidents Orchestra during Chicago Days in Moscow in 2002. His Klezmer Rhapsody, Shtetl Scenes, and Prayer were performed at Espace Rachi in Paris in 2006.
Mr. Levinson is Music Director and co-founder of New Budapest Orpheum Society, a group performing music of Jewish Cabaret. The group's CD Dancing on the Edge of the Volcano is recorded on Cedille label. Mr. Levinson is currently Lecturer in Music at Columbia College and at the University of Chicago.