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.