Aaron Israel Levin

Instrumental Focus

  • composer

Aaron Israel Levin is an American composer who writes music guided by the emotional dynamism of storytelling and drama. Drawing from an eclectic range of musical and extra-musical influences–inspired equally by American minimalism and European modernism; Jewish folklore and Italian cinema; 1920s Weimar theater and Broadway musicals–he creates music that is at once somber and playful, tender and confrontational, lyrical and gestural. Aaron has collaborated with and been commissioned by the Aizuri Quartet, the American Composers Orchestra, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Bent Frequency Duo, the Chelsea Symphony, Fifth House Ensemble, the Historical Keyboard Society of North America, loadbang, loop38, the Music Teachers National Association, Onix Ensamble, the Yale Philharmonia, mezzo-sopranos Kayleigh Butcher and Lisa Neher, and percussionists Dmitrii Nilov and Sam Um. Passionate about interdisciplinary collaboration, Aaron frequently works with artists in theater, dance, and film. Collaborators include playwright Christopher Gabriel Nuñez, choreographer Celeste Miller, and filmmaker Harris Gurney. Along with violist Harris Bernstein and composer Soomin Kim, he is the co-founder of the experimental performance series Rattlebox Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Aaron’s music has been heard at and presented by the Centro Nacional de las Artes (Mexico City), Constellation (Chicago), the DiMenna Center (NYC), the Schubert Club (Saint Paul, MN), Spectrum (NYC), New Music Gathering 2020, and the Aspen, Bowdoin, Fresh Inc., Oregon Bach, Red Note, and Source Song festivals. He has also been a fellow with the Next Festival for Emerging Artists, the New Amsterdam Composers Lab, and at the Young Composers Meeting with the orkest de ereprijs in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. Select honors include the Audience Choice Commission from the Earshot Underwood New Music Readings with the American Composers Orchestra; the Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival & School; the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters; second prize from the Boston GuitarFest Composition Competition; and, recognition as a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Award. Additionally, Aaron’s work Snow Fragments was recently selected by calls-for-scores from the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and the Mayflower Art Center.

Originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Aaron is a graduate of Grinnell College (BA) and the Yale School of Music (MM), where he is currently pursuing his DMA. His mentors include Katherine Balch, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Eric McIntyre, and Chris Theo