Bruce Levingston is an American concert pianist and a leading figure in contemporary classical music. He has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. Known for “extraordinary gifts as a colorist and a performer who can hold attention rapt with the softest playing” (MusicWeb International), many of today’s most important composers have written works especially for him and his world premiere performances have been widely acclaimed. The New York Times has praised his “mastery of color and nuance” and the New Yorker has called him “a force for new music.”
Levingston’s recordings have also received notable accolades. His album Heavy Sleep was named one of the Best Classical Recordings of the Year by The New York Times calling it “exquisite.” The Arts Desk proclaimed the album “sublime” and Gramophone declared his playing “masterly.” The American Record Guide wrote “Levingston is a pianist’s pianist” praising his “stunning and and highly illuminating performances.” MusicWeb International named his album Still Sound “Record of the Month” and Heart Shadow was named “Album of the Week” by New York City’s WQXR. Classics Today lauded his album Portraits for its “transcendent virtuosity and huge arsenal of tone color.”
Levingston has appeared in concerts and music festivals throughout the world, and his performances have been broadcast internationally on radio, internet and television. Noted for his “innovative and glamorous programming” (The New Yorker), he has worked with some of the most gifted artists of our time including composer Philip Glass, painter Chuck Close, authors George Plimpton and Michael Cunningham, actor Ethan Hawke, dancers Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, Colin and Eric Jacobsen and the Brooklyn Rider, and choreographers Jorma Elo, Russell Maliphant and Wayne McGregor. Levingston is founder and artistic director of the music foundation, Premiere Commission, Inc., which has commissioned and premiered over sixty new works.
Levingston has collaborated with numerous prominent cultural institutions on programs related to art, music and dance including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of Art; Alliance Française/French Institute; the Aspen Institute and Aspen Music Festival; Rooftop Films, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. In 2015, Levingston’s biography and survey of the life and work of Marie Hull, Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull, was published on the 125th Anniversary of the noted Mississippi artist’s birth. Levingston curated major exhibitions of Hull’s work at the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans in conjunction with the publication of the book.
A native of the Mississippi Delta and lifelong advocate of human rights and education, Levingston gave a special world premiere performance for the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and collaborated on the commission and world premiere of the oratorio, Repast, based on the life of the civil rights figure Booker Wright. Levingston regularly performs and conducts master classes in public schools to promote the arts and bring live music to young audiences. He was awarded the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2006 and, in 2017, named to the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame. In 2018, the Governor of Mississippi named May 9th Bruce Levingston Day in recognition of Levingston’s longtime support of the arts and civil rights. Levingston is the Chancellor’s Honors College Artist in Residence and Holder of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi. He resides in Oxford, MS and New York City.