Underwood New Music Readings – Composer Spotlight: Aaron Israel Levin

Aaron Israel Levin writes music that is guided by the emotional dynamism of storytelling and drama. He draws from a variety of musical and non-musical influences – including film, theater, and performance art – to create compositions that are both personal and wide-ranging. Aaron’s music has been performed by the Bent Frequency Duo, Fifth House Ensemble, loadbang, Pavia Winds, the Yale Philharmonia, mezzo-sopranos Kayleigh Butcher and Lisa Neher, and percussionists Dmitrii Nilov and Sam Um. Passionate about collaboration, Aaron frequently works with artists from different mediums. He has collaborated multiple times with playwright Christopher Gabriel Nuñéz, and has also developed projects with projection designer Johnny Moreno, and choreographers Celeste Miller and Mary Gwin.

Aaron’s piece In Between was selected for the 2019 Underwood New Music Readings where it will be workshopped and read by American Composers Orchestra and conductor Ludovic Morlot. Aaron spoke to us about the readings and his piece.

Rehearsals, workshops, and final readings are open to the public on May 23 and 24 at NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theatre (35 W 4th St). RSVP here

Composer Aaron Israel Levin. Photo by Eric Snoza

American Composers Orchestra: What was your reaction to finding out your piece had been selected for the Underwood New Music Readings?

Aaron Israel Levin: I really couldn’t believe it because I was so elated. I think I immediately emailed the composition teacher who had worked with me on the piece that it had been selected, and it was a really special moment sharing that news with him. So many fantastic composers have worked with the American Composers Orchestra through the Underwood New Music Readings over the years, and I am deeply humbled to be included this year.

ACO: What are you doing to prepare for the readings? Are there any changes you have made to your piece?

AIL: I made a few orchestrational changes to make certain moments more clear. I also decided to make the principle cellist more of a protagonist. In my initial draft, the solo cello doesn’t really speak until the end of the piece; but in this revision there is a solo moment right at the beginning, which I feel gives the work more of a complete, cyclical structure. I’m excited to hear how it works!

ACO: What are you looking forward to about the workshops and readings? What do you hope to learn from the experience?

AIL: I’m really looking forward to working with the fantastic mentor composers, Derek Bermel, Anthony Cheung, and Tania Léon, as well as the esteemed conductor Ludovic Morlot. I’ve never worked with a professional orchestra before, so I’m hoping to learn more about what that process is like, and what the best ways are for composers to effectively work with the conductor and the players in bringing a new piece of music to life. I’m also excited to meet the other participant composers and to hang out in New York City!

Hear Aaron’s piece at the 2019 Underwood New Music Readings. Rehearsals, workshops, and final readings are open to the public on May 23 and 24 at NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theatre (35 W 4th St). RSVP here

Learn more about Aaron at www.aaronisraellevin.com
Follow Aaron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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