David Levi grew up in New York City. He graduated from Harvard University
with a degree in psychology, then studied piano, conducting, chamber
music, and vocal accompaniment at the Manhattan School of Music with
Donal Nold and Martin Katz. After conducting in various German Opera
Houses he became James Conlon’s assistant at the Cologne Opera from
1993 to 1997 where he was music director and conductor of new productions
of Shostakovich’s The Nose (directed by Harry Kupfer) and Sondheim’s
Sweeney Todd (directed by Torsten Fischer), as well as conducting performances
of La Damnation de Faust directed by Harry Kupfer, Elektra with Gabriele
Schnaut, Eugene Onegin, Otello, Hänsel und Gretel, and La Traviata.
He actively continues to coach and accompany many fine singers, among
them Cristina Gallardo-Domas, Anja Silja and Patricia Petibon.
In 1989 David Levi created the Spanga Opera Festival in The Netherlands
with stage director Corina van Eijk. There he conducted L’Elisir d’Amore,
Rigoletto, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, The Rake’s Progress, Ariadne auf Naxos,
Samson et Dalila, Falstaff, Aida, Il Trittico, Mavra, and Sancta Susanna.
He conducted a soundtrack recording for two opera-films produced by
Opera Spanga: Rigoletto and Samson and Delilah. He also conducted David
Moreau’s film music for Une Vie à t’Attendre and le Héros de la Famille.
In the latter, he was the vocal coach of Emmanuelle Béart and Catherine
He was the Chorus Master at the Paris National Opera from 1997 –
In 2002, The Graz Opera in Austria invited David Levi to conduct
a revival of Turandot as well as a new production of Cabaret. He returned
a year later to music direct a new production of Sweeney Todd.
Since 2002, David’s conducting activity in France has included productions
of Die Lustige Niebelungen at the Opéra de Montpellier, Le Pays du Sourire
at the Opéra de Longjumeau (Paris), and critically acclaimed performances
of Die Fledermaus at the Opéra de Massy, as well as concerts with the
Orchestre des Pays de la Loire, and the Orchestras of Strasbourg and
Nancy. His recordings in France include La Damoiselle Elue by Debussy
with the Orchestre de Massy, soprano Ying Huang and the Maîtrise des
Hauts-de-Seine. and Poulenc’s Les Petites Voix, also with the Maîtrise
David is regularly invited to conduct the Orchestre National d’Ile
de France with whom he has collaborated on numerous programs, including
Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at the Cité de la Musique in Paris, Messiaen’s
Trois Petites Liturgies at Salle Gaveau, Pink Martini at Salle Pleyel
and an evening of Broadway with Patricia Petibon and a chorus of 1500
children from the Paris region.
His concert with Orchestre National d’Île de France, a chorus of
1300 singers and the Brazilian singer Lenine at the Zénith de Paris
was one of the high points in the celebrations for the Year of Brazil
in France. : In April 2011 he conducted this orchestra and 300 children
in a semi-staged concert of L’Enfant et les Sortilèges at Salle Pleyel.
With Ms. Petibon, he has conducted numerous concerts, including most
recently with the Tokyo Philharmonic in 2009
He debuted at the Vienna Volksoper in 2005 with a series of performances
of The Sound of Music and of Czardásfürstin by Kalman, followed by a
gala concert dedicated to the Broadway Musical. Those engagements led
him to return to Vienna for the premiere of Boris Eifman’s ballet Anna
Karenina, and as musical director for critically acclaimed productions
of My Fair Lady and, most recently in 2010, South Pacific with the great
bass Ferruccio Furlanetto.
Elsewhere on the continent, David Levi has conducted Kalman’s Czárdásfürstin
at the Komische Oper Berlin and Puccini’s Le Villi, featuring Cristina
Gallardo-Domas in the lead role, at the Teatro Villamarta in Jerez.
In the United States he led productions of Don Giovanni and the world
premiere of a new American opera, Guest From The Future, about the meeting
of Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin at the Bard SummerScape Festival
in New York.
His activity with Opera Spanga, continues to this day, the most recent
projects including Donna Giovanna, a reexamination of Don Giovanni which
met with a great critical and popular success, as did his reworking
of Strauss’ Elektra for an orchestra of 34 musicians, and his 2010 version
2010 saw David’s début with the Royal Danish Ballet in Napoli.
In Italy, David is quickly becoming known not only for his work in
ballet, (recently conducting Anna Karenina (Trieste and Genova) and
Red Giselle (Trieste) with the Eifman Ballet Theatre of St. Petersburg,
Petrouchka/L’Après-Midi d’un Faune/Les noces in Bologna, and La Sylphide
in Genova), but also for his work in opera conducting his début at the
Opera di Roma in the European première of A View From the Bridge by
In South America, his rendition of the Beethoven Eroica Symphony
with the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, and his concerts in
Caracas with the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela have establishied his
presence on yet another continent. And his work in symphonic repertoire
has also taken him to Shanghai and most recently to Belgrade and Muscat.
In 2015 he founded TerrOpéra in the Southwest of France.
His most recent concerts have bought great critical acclaim: most
notably his performance with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center
in New York City—hailed by the New York Times as “one of the finest
in years”-- and his interpretation of Rhapsody in Blue with the great
Italian Jazz pianist, Stefano Bollani, at the the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari.
Recent productions: The Moor’s Pavane and River (Opera di Roma),
Sacré Symphonique (Orchestre National d’Ile de France), Bluebeard’s
Castle (National Symphony Orchestra of Columbia), Hello, Dolly! and
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum (Volksoper),Donna Giovanna
(film version for Opera Spanga, Napoli (Opéra de Paris-Palais Garnier),
Sweeney Todd (Theater Magdeburg), Anatevka, and Viktoria und Ihr Husar
(Mörbisch Seefestspiele), Macbeth (Opera Spanga), Histoire du Soldat