Frank Ezra Levy

Composer Bio

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 219 published works including 13 Symphonies, 17 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. Among his 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 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 for Guild in October, a performance in Switzerland of his Quartet for Violin, Viola, Horn and Piano in June and a projected recording, also scheduled by Guild, of four concertos for various instruments and String Orchestra, featuring the Toulouse
Chamber Orchestra with Timon and Hana Gubenko 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 as well as a concerto for Viola and Wind Ensemble performed on March 1, 2015 by the Omaha Symphonic Winds, William Hall conducting.