James Levine

Biography

Born: June 23, 1943  
Conductor and pianist James Levine is one of the powerhouse figures of the classical music scene today. At the age of ten he played Mendelssohn's second piano concerto at a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra youth concert. He studied piano at various summer music festivals before enrolling at New York's Juilliard School, where he took conducting courses with Jean Morel and continued piano studies with Rosina Lhevinne. Further conducting studies Read more included work at the Aspen Music Festival and with the American Conductors Project, a program run by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, after his Juilliard graduation in 1964.

George Szell of the Cleveland Orchestra then invited him to become an apprentice. At the conclusion of this term, he became an assistant conductor of the orchestra from 1965 to 1970. In 1973 he became the music director of both the Ravinia Festival (the Chicago Symphony's summer series) and of the Cincinnati May Festival. His debut with the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York also came in a summer festival appearance; on June 5, 1971, he conducted Puccini's Tosca.

In 1973, following the sudden departure of music director Rafael Kubelik over artistic differences, the Metropolitan Opera appointed Levine its principal conductor. In 1975 the position was redesignated "music director." Although Kubelik was the first conductor ever to have been given that title at the Metropolitan, he did not remain there long enough to actually exercise the wide responsibilities it implies; Levine was effectively the first music director of the Met. In 1986 his position was further expanded to "artistic director," which implies control over all aspects of the stage presentation, not just the music.

Levine's tenure at the Metropolitan has been one of the longest such associations between an opera company and its chief conductor, providing the company with one of its greatest and most stable periods. His season planning has been outstanding, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra owes its reputation as a world-class ensemble to his leadership.

He began in 1975 to appear regularly at the Salzburg Festival in Austria, where his performances of Mozart were highly esteemed, and proved himself an excellent Wagnerian in his appearances at the Bayreuth Festival beginning in 1982. However, his guest conducting availability has been limited: he considers the artistic leadership of the Metropolitan to be a full-time, year-round job. When time allows, he performs as a pianist in chamber music and as an accompanist for singers.

Levine commands a wide repertoire in opera and also in the concert hall, ranging from Bach, Haydn, and Mozart to Iannis Xenakis. He is known for an open and engaging personality which appears in his rehearsals as well, but this does not prevent him from conducting them with businesslike efficiency. In 1996 the Metropolitan conducted a televised celebration of 25th anniversary of Levine's first performance there in the form of a gala. So many singers agreed to appear that the event lasted over eight hours -- conducted entirely by Levine. He has produced a large number of recordings with the Metropolitan Opera and other opera houses, as well as orchestral recordings with the Chicago Symphony and other great orchestras. He is also noted as a pianist who has accompanied many of the world's top vocalists and participated in several chamber music recordings. In 2004, Levin became music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 41 Available Recordings
1 2
  • 1.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5412002 Release Date: 02/25/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Eric Coates,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Kathryn Stott,  Michael Boriskin,  Todd Levy  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Eugene Ormandy,  Leonard Slatkin,  John Pritchard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players
    On sale!
    Import CD
    $32.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $36.99   CD:  $32.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    Mozart 111 [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001766872 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Emil Gilels,  Elena Gilels,  Maurizio Pollini  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  James Levine,  Herbert von Karajan,  Marc Minkowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $175.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1103771 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  James Levine,  Wolfram Christ,  Gerhart Hetzel,  Georg Faust  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hagen String Quartet
    Import CD
    $12.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    The Claude Debussy Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 193179 Release Date: 05/01/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Gervase de Peyer,  Ann Murray,  Nathalie Stutzmann,  Leslie Caron  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Pierre Boulez,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    On sale!
    CD: $62.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $64.98   CD:  $62.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    James Levine Conducts Brahms
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7686042 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Emanuel Ax,  Kathleen Battle,  James Levine,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
    Recommendation
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $11.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $11.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    111 - The Collector's Edition 2 [56-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779142 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Harling,  Robert Lloyd,  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Nelson,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $119.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 7.
    Mozart, Beethoven: Quintets For Piano & Winds / Levine, Ensemble Wien-Berlin
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2072308 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Wien-Berlin
    Recommendation
    DVD: $24.99
    Low Stock
    DVD:  $24.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 8.
    Italian Songbook / Cecilia Bartoli, James Levine
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001266102 Release Date: 03/03/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli,  James Levine
    Recommendation
    On sale! $26.99
    CD: $14.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $26.99   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 9.
    Schubert: Trout Quintet, Death & The Maiden / Levine, Hagen Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471740 Release Date: 09/23/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hagen String Quartet
    Recommendation
    Import ArkivCD
    $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 10.
    Mozart, Beethoven: Quintets For Piano & Wind / Levine
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419785 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Wien-Berlin members
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 11.
    Beethoven: Complete Cello Sonatas; Schubert, Mendelssohn / Harrell, Levine
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 85066 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Lynn Harrell,  James Levine
    On sale! $24.98
    ArkivCD $21.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $24.98   ArkivCD:  $21.99 Add to Cart

  • 12.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 1, 8 Lieder / Ax, Levine, Battle, Hagegard
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 85062 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  James Levine,  Kathleen Battle,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd,  Emanuel Ax
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 13.
    Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Prokofiev, Debussy, Webern / Harrell, Levine
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 85067 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Claude Debussy,  Anton Webern,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  James Levine,  Lynn Harrell
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 14.
    James Levine Plays Scott Joplin
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 85068 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Scott Joplin
    Performer:  James Levine
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 15.
    Schubert: Winterreise / Christa Ludwig, James Levine
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423366 Release Date: 10/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Christa Ludwig,  James Levine
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 16.
    Schubert: String Quintet;  Schumann: Piano Quintet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435071 Release Date: 09/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Lynn Harrell,  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 17.
    Mozart: Kegelstatt-trio, Etc / Levine, Ensemble Wien Berlin
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431782 Release Date: 08/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Karl Leister,  Wolfram Christ,  James Levine,  Margit Anna Süss  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Wien-Berlin
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 18.
    Dvorak: Cello Concerto; Schubert: Arpeggione / Harrell
    Label: Rca Papillion   Catalog: 6531 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Lynn Harrell,  James Levine
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 19.
    Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin / Uwe Heilmann, James Levine
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440354 Release Date: 07/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Uwe Heilmann,  James Levine
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 20.
    Weekend Classics - A Schubert Weekend
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000769402 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Alois Posch,  James Levine,  Wolfram Christ,  Gerhart Hetzel  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Ion Marin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 21.
    Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue, American In Paris
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000616702 Release Date: 03/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin
    Performer:  James Levine,  David Finck,  André Previn,  Roberto Szidon
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Seiji Ozawa,  Edward Downes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 22.
    Schubert: Piano Music For Four Hands / Kissin, Levine
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 69282 Release Date: 02/07/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Evgeni Kissin,  James Levine
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $16.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 23.
    Jessye Norman Collection - Live At Hohenems & Salzburg
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000550902 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Siegfried Ochs,  George Frideric Handel,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Geoffrey Parsons,  James Levine
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 24.
    Jessye Norman Collection - Schoenberg;  Stravinsky
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000551202 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Arnold Schoenberg
    Performer:  Harry Peeters,  Georges Wilson,  Jessye Norman,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Shinyukai Choir,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 25.
    Verbier Festival & Academy 10th Anniversary Piano Extravaganza
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61860 Release Date: 10/12/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Benjamin,  Richard Wagner,  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Evgeni Kissin,  Staffan Scheja,  James Levine,  Emanuel Ax  ... 
    DVD: $14.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $14.99 Add DVD to Cart

1 2