Interactive: North Carolina Symphony Blog
Our friend and colleague Jess Isaiah Levin passed away suddenly on February 16, 2015. A member of the North Carolina Symphony since 1974, he held the J. Felix Arnold First Violin chair. This weekend's performances in Chapel Hill and Raleigh will be dedicated in his memory.
From an early age, Jess had designs on a career in science. He began serious study of physics while in elementary school, and went on to major in that subject at the Bronx High School of Science. However, as the son of one of New York’s premier violinists, it was not surprising that the music bug would bite him eventually. Jess began studying violin while in junior high school, and studied composition with Juilliard resident composer Hall Overton beginning at the age of 14.
During his teen years, the photography bug also took up permanent residence next to music and Jess pursued both creative areas from then on. An undergraduate degree in violin performance (with unofficial minor in composition) and a graduate school major in composition (with unofficial minor in violin) helped prepare Jess for his place in the First Violin section of the North Carolina Symphony.
Highlights of his career with the North Carolina Symphony included four performances of his own violin concerto (premiered in 1976), performances of Mozart’s Concerto No. 5, and the orchestra’s performances of two of his compositions – TAKI 183 for string orchestra, and Tessellation for full orchestra. His chamber works have been performed in Raleigh, Albuquerque, and several Wisconsin venues.
A continued fascination with physics and the other sciences provided just one area among the many that occupied Jess’s voracious appetite for reading that also included music and the visual arts. Click here to see his blog, called Classical Photography. And, click here to listen to an interview from last year when Jess was featured on WCPE's "My Life in Music."
Our thoughts are with his wife, Pam Halverson. She is also part of the North Carolina Symphony family, serving as Assistant Librarian.
Where words fail, music speaks. – Hans Christian Andersen