Harold Levin pursues a creative career that intersects the worlds of performance, conducting, teaching, and composition. After important formative training with Farrell Reese, Donald Valentine, Roland Vamos, and David Holland, he received degrees in viola performance - a Bachelor of Science from Ball State University, Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and DMA from Rutgers University. His teachers included Robert Slaughter, Raymond Stilwell, Donald McInnes, and Michael Tree. Additionally, he studied composition with Ernesto Pellegrini, Joel Hoffman, and Charles Wuorinen, and received chamber music coaching from members of both the LaSalle and Guarneri Quartets.
After four seasons as a violist in the Louisville Orchestra, Dr. Levin was appointed to viola and conducting positions at the University of Nebraska, University of Memphis, Western Illinois University, and Ball State University. One-year appointments include Bucknell, West Virginia, and Marywood Universities. Simultaneously with his teaching positions, he has held the principal chairs in the Lincoln Symphony, Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, Princeton Symphony, Muncie Symphony, and Orchestra of Northern New York. He has also appeared with the orchestras of Cincinnati, Omaha, Memphis, Long Island, Orlando, Jacksonville, Monterey, and Berkeley. His former students hold orchestra, college, and public school positions across the country.
Dr. Levin’s summer festival history includes the National Repertory Orchestra, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Breckenridge Institute, Bay View, Bedford Springs, Tennessee Governor’s School, Crane Youth Music, Rutgers Summerfest, Cape Cod Chamber Music, Interlochen, Plymouth Chamber Music, and Cabrillo.
A dedicated teacher of young musicians, he has served as Music Director of youth orchestras in Indiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Florida. While conductor of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, he held a staff conducting position with the Orlando Philharmonic, where he conducted over 40 Children’s Concerts, Pops, and on the Orchestra’s FOCUS Series.
Harold Levin is a commissioned and published composer, whose music is represented by Jomar Press. His works for voice, chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra, have been performed across the country and in Europe. Additionally, his Clarinet Quartet, Alto Saxophone Sonata, Saxophone Quartet, and Five Pieces for Clarinet, Viola, and Trumpet, have all been recorded commercially. As both violist and conductor, he has commissioned and premiered many works for solo viola, chamber ensembles, and orchestra.
For two weeks each summer, he teaches, performs, and conducts at theBlue Mountain Festival.
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Laura Kobayashi leads a varied career as a performer and pedagogue. She currently resides in Northern Virginia and performs as a member of the Polaris Piano Trio, the Main Street Chamber Players and the Kobayashi/Gray Duo. She is also a founding member of the Main Street Music Studios where she maintains a large private studio of students.
With duo partner/pianist, Dr. Susan Keith Gray, Dr. Kobayashi performs regularly through the United States. The Duo has performed abroad in Wales, Thailand, South Africa, Norway, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Trinidad and St. Lucia and has presented guest artist master classes, workshops and clinics in all of those countries. They have also recorded two CD's of music by women composers for the Albany Records label, which have been broadcast on national public radio throughout North America as well as in Europe and have received rave reviews from The Strad magazine, Strings magazine and Fanfare magazine and have edited for publication a violin sonata by 19th Century French composer Marie Grandval for Hildegard Publishing Company. In addition, Dr. Kobayashi has also performed in Argentina and Puerto Rico.
Dr. Kobayashi has appeared as a soloist with a number of professional and university/college orchestras throughout the United States and overseas with the Salta Chamber Orchestra of Argentina and the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra of Thailand. In addition, she has participated and served on the faculties of numerous music festivals in the United States, Norway, Brazil and Argentina.
Throughout her career, Dr. Kobayashi has received several awards including the 2012 VASTA (Virginia State Chapter of ASTA) Outstanding String Teacher Award and the 2002 “Excellence in Teaching” Award by the Division of Music and College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University. Past teaching positions include West Virginia University, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Georgia and the Preparatory Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Prior to her teaching career, Dr. Kobayashi was a professional orchestral musician and played as a member of the second violin section in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Outside of her teaching and performing activities, Dr. Kobayashi is also an active member of ASTA (American String Teachers Association) and has served as a National Chair for the ASTA National Solo Competition, the ASTA CAP Program (Certificate Advancement Program) and the Potter's Violins Instrument Awards, among others.
Dr. Kobayashi’s current and former students have been accepted to participate in ASTA’S National High School Honors Orchestra, the American High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, All-Virginia Orchestra, Northern Virginia and North Central Virginia Senior Regional Orchestras, West Virginia All-State Orchestra and Nebraska All-State Orchestra. In addition, a number of her students have performed in public master classes for international concert violinists: Jamie Laredo, James Ehnes, Arabella Steinbacher, Oleh Krysa, and Timothy Fain; concertmasters of major symphony orchestras: David Kim (Philadelphia Orchestra) and Valentin Zhuk (Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra) and notable pedagogues: Charles Castleman (The University of Miami), Paul Kantor (Rice University), Andrew Jennings (University of Michigan) and Marilyn McDonald (Oberlin Conservatory). Her students have also been accepted into undergraduate and graduate music programs pursuing degrees in music performance, music education and composition at The Juilliard School, Jacobs School of Music (Indiana University), The Hartt School (University of Hartford), Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Shepherd School of Music (Rice University), Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Boston University, Ithaca College and Florida State University. In addition, many of them have been hired as public school music teachers or violin professors and orchestral conductors on the collegiate and professional level throughout the United States.
Dr. Kobayashi studied violin with Dorothy DeLay, Andrew Jennings, Paul Kantor and Denes Zsigmondy and performed in the master classes for Nathan Milstein, Ruggiero Ricci, Arthur Grumiaux, and Gyorgy Pauk. Chamber music studies have been with members of the Juilliard, Tokyo and American String Quartets as well as with collaborative pianists Robert McDonald and Samuel Sanders. Dr. Kobayashi earned degrees from The Juilliard School and Yale University and the Doctor of Musical Arts from The University of Michigan.
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