Gerald Levinson

2007 Pew Fellow

Gerald Levinson, 2007 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.

“It can be immensely thrilling to have that world you imagined actually become real.”

Gerald Levinson (b. 1951) has been increasingly recognized as one of the major composers of his generation. His recent work, Toward Light, for organ and orchestra, was commissioned and performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra for the dedication of the new instrument in Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. He has also been commissioned by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Chamber Music American, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, to name but a few.

In 1990, Levinson received the Music Award (for lifetime achievement) of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which cited his “sensitive poetic spirit, imaginative treatment of texture and color,” and his “potent and very personal idiom which projects immediately to the listener.” In addition to this award, others received include the Prix International Arthur Honegger de Composition Musicale, multiple National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a residency at Yaddo, a Pennsylvania Council on the Art fellowship, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellowship. He is a professor and department chair of music and dance at Swarthmore College.


A performance piece interpreting classical South Indian music and dance, inspired by themes of liberty and freedom drawn from Philadelphia’s history.

John Blake, Jr., a jazz violinist and 2010 Pew Fellow, passed away on August 15, 2014.

Grants & Grantees

Opera Philadelphia will develop the American Repertoire Council, a national advisory body charged with assessing and deconstructing the company’s process for creating new operatic works.

Toni Shapiro-Phim’s portrait of the Brownings, co-founders of the World Music Institute, highlights their pioneering work in the curation of world music and their organization’s impact on the field.

Grants & Grantees

Spanning avant-garde jazz, modern classical music, improvised music, and klezmer, 2012 Pew Fellow Dan Blacksberg pushes at the technical and textural extremes of his instrument, the trombone.

Grants & Grantees

Lecoq-trained theater artist and 2006 Pew Fellow Geoff Sobelle is dedicated to the sublime ridiculous.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang will create a new composition for 1,000 broken instruments gathered from Philadelphia public schools, to be performed by a 600-member orchestra comprised of students, teachers, and professional and amateur musicians.

WXPN’s yearlong project explores the origins and evolution of zydeco, a form of African-American roots music that blends Cajun traditions, blues, and R&B. On Saturday, December 13, Zydeco Crossroads and Allons Danser welcome zydeco musicians Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys to Norristown’s Holy Saviour Club for a holiday potluck and dance party.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, visual artist Candy Coated designs colorful bikes with the Mural Arts Program and Indego, and composer Jennifer Higdon prepares for the premiere of her opera, Cold Mountain in Santa Fe. The Chicago Tribune profiles fiction writer Max Apple, and Poet Afaa Michael Weaver receives the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Award.

Grants & Grantees

Major Jackson is a poet and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society serves the Greater Philadelphia region and the field of music by presenting a rich and compelling variety of chamber music and recital programs performed by exceptional international and Philadelphia-based artists at affordable prices.

Grants & Grantees

Bhob Rainey is a soprano saxophonist, composer, and a 2013 Pew Fellow whose interests lie in new realms of artistic possibility.