Photo by Louise Bichan
“Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.”
Allen LeVines’ compositions connect cultures of distinctly different origins through the language of the music, encouraging audiences to realize a shared humanity. He is a highly decorated composer distinguished with the American Academy Award and international prizes in Japan, Holland, Greece, and Switzerland. His instrumental, orchestral, and choral works have been performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan.

LeVines’ first composition studies came at Stetson University with the mentor Paul Langston. At the University of Pennsylvania, LeVines thrived while working with two peerless composers - George Crumb and George Rochberg. Equally influential composition studies took place with George Perle, as well as brief work with Toru Takemitsu, both at Tanglewood.

While at Penn, LeVines was already seeking experiences and ideas beyond Euro-American traditions, leading to studies in Japanese gagaku with Sensei Suenobi Togi and Ghanaian drumming with Torgbui Midawo Gideon Foli Alorwoyie. Additionally, Olivier Messiaen’s influence nurtured a growing respect for the resources of birdsong.

Allen LeVines’ music creates unexpected soundscapes, interweaving innovations and traditions from around the globe. His influences spring from literature, art, mathematics, philosophy, mysticism. The music is pluralistic, drawing inspiration from East Asia, Africa, India, European composition schools in the succession Messiaen, rock, jazz, Chinese wuxing , and Japanese poetry.

Immersed in jazz, classical, world, and experimental music, LeVines has collaborated with brilliant artists from a dynamic stylistic spectrum - multi-wind virtuoso Yazhi Guo (China), mandolin-guitar team Mare Duo (Germany), Z*A Performance Ensemble (Japan), Portland String Quartet (United States), jazz and bluegrass violinist Matt Glaser (United States), pianist Gwendolyn Mok (United States), vocalist Marina Khankhalaeva (Buryatia), and more. His Imago-Legend was performed by the St. Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin and Velocities was performed by new music ensemble Alea III with Theodore Antonio. Other notable performances include Daybreak on Lake Bosomtwe for Plectrum Orchestra and Percussion (JZO JugendZupfOrchester, Germany), Mad Verse-Withering Wind for dancer, vocalist, and piano (Z*A Performance Ensemble), after the quake for mandolin and guitar (Mare Duo), and Travel Journal: Books I—III (Portland String Quartet).

Among Allen LeVines’ earliest musical memories are hearing Ellington, Porter, and Gershwin songs his mother sang and played. School jazz, orchestra, and chorus directors supported LeVines’ broad passions for Hendrix, The Beatles, and BS&T together with Vivaldi, Mussorgsky, and Debussy. By age twenty, LeVines had formed a folk-rock ensemble, a jazz-rock vocal group, conducted classical choruses, and performed with a Miami Beach big band.

LeVines’ musical curiosity was further nurtured in college. At Stetson University under mentors Paul Langston and Virginia Hutchings, he focused on solo keyboard works of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff. Jazz piano studies with Harold Blancher opened LeVines’ world to the genius of Waller, Monk, Evans, and Simone. While in graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, LeVines performed in Philadelphia and New York area jazz venues in duo settings with a small network of progressive improv and jazz scene musicians.

LeVines’ early jazz and rock influences drew him toward more and more adventurous sonic possibilities, and in tandem with experimental composition he has recently returned full circle to performing jazz and classical piano. Marina Khankhalaeva (vocals) and Allen LeVines (piano) currently form an accomplished, classy duo. Bringing together contemporary and international influences, their shows wrap audiences in a warm fabric of harmonies and invite listeners deeply into the music where sounds full of color are waiting to be discovered. www.mezzomarina.com

Photo by Louise Bichan
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity”
Berklee College of Music
As both a private teacher and a Berklee College of Music professor, LeVines mentors a range of performers and composers, guiding each toward developing a personal voice. For a college-wide curriculum review, he was chosen as a chair of a panel on music history. He has designed an array of courses including studies in the Music of Japan, Music of China and the Music of Olivier Messiaen. college.berklee.edu/people/allen-levines

Coaching and Private Instruction
LeVines is a sought after performance coach and private teacher, offering individual composition and piano instruction as well as solo and ensemble coaching sessions.

Photo by Suzanne Clark
LeVines’ advanced studies in music included conducting with Geoffrey Gilbert and Robert Rich. A versatile conductor, LeVines directs ensembles in an array of chamber, choral, and opera performances. His repertoire includes gospel, South African freedom songs, and classical Baroque concerti and cantatas.

For twenty-five seasons LeVines served as Music Director for Stämbandet, a vocal ensemble acclaimed as both an a cappella group and a world music vocal group. The fifteen accomplished singers from Scandinavia performed in six languages, presenting folk traditions unique to Scandinavia, including trall - singers imitating fiddlers playing dance music - a practice often compared to scat singing. LeVines travelled in Sweden in 1994 on a SVEA International grant, researching the connection between folk song forms and fiddle music. Stämbandet's concerts presented songs rarely heard outside of Europe’s Nordic countries. Appearing on stage, radio, and television, in 2010 the ensemble toured Sweden. stambandet.org

Career Highlights

Education

Selected Awards and Commissions