Meet Bruce Levingston, one of today’s most adventurous forces in new piano music
July 1, 2015
The New York Times declared concert pianist Bruce Levingston one of “today’s most adventurous musicians,” and the New Yorker called him “a force for new music.” Levingston has performed world-premieres at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and other international venues. He is also the founder and artistic director of Premiere Commission Inc., which has commissioned and premiered more than fifty new works. Find out more at http://www.premierecommission.org/brucelevingston.html.
Photo above by Antonio Notarberardino.
TRAINING: I began to play at the age of four and I had my first lessons with my mother. I studied under Anton Kuerti at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto; in Switzerland with Bela Boszormenyi-Nagy; in New York with Morey Ritt; in Aspen with Herbert Stessin; and private lessons with John Perry, Elizabeth Buday, and Amanda Vick Lethco.
INFLUENCES: Greatest piano influences include Annie Fischer, Alfred Cortot, Vladimir Horowitz and Rudolf Serkin. All had completely different sounds and approaches, but each shared a kind perfection in their unique artistry. Other influences include Maria Callas, Bill Evans, the conductor Carlos Kleiber, and the composers Bach, Schubert, Chopin, and Debussy.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Bach played by my friend, the violinist Johnny Gandelsman, Louis Armstrong singing “Mack the Knife,” and playbacks of some recent recordings I just made of some etudes by Philip Glass that will be released on an all-Glass album I am currently recording.
LATEST ALBUM: My fifth solo album Heavy Sleep, out now on the Sono Luminus label. It includes some of my favorite Bach works and premier recordings of some beautiful new works by Timo Andres and Mohammed Fairouz.
WHAT’S NEXT: I will be performing throughout Italy this April, finishing up my Glass album and gearing up for an exciting program at Carnegie Hall that I’ll be playing next season. I have also recently completed my first book “Bright Fields,” about the pianist Marie Hull, who became a famous and influential painter. It will be published in September 2015 on the 125th anniversary of her birth.
ADVICE: Be fearless. Try to play as many new things as possible, and believe in your own voice. It is unique.