About this Artist
Emily Levin is the Principal Harpist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Bronze Medal Winner of the 9th USA International Harp Competition. Her playing has been praised for its “communicative, emotionally intense expression” (Jerusalem Post) and the Herald Times commended her “technical wizardry and artistic intuition.” As a soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber collaborator, Levin brings the harp to the forefront of a diverse musical spectrum, using her instrument to connect with all audiences.
Emily has performed as Guest Principal Harp with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Houston Symphony, and regularly appears with the New York Philharmonic. As a soloist, she has performed throughout North America and Europe, in venues including Carnegie Hall (New York), the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia) and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Rugen, Germany). At the request of conductors Jaap van Zweden and John Adams, she appeared as soloist with the DSO in 2018 and 2019; other concerto performances include the Jerusalem, Colorado and West Virginia Symphony Orchestras, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Lakes Area Music Festival, and the Indiana University Festival Orchestra, among others. Her debut album, Something Borrowed, explores the art of musical borrowing with works inspired by language, literature, and culture. For the album, the Classical Recording Foundation named her their 2017 Young Artist of the Year.
Emily is a top prize winner at the two most prestigious harp competitions—the 2013 USA International Harp Competition, where she won the Bronze Medal, and the 2009 International Harp Contest in Israel, where at age 18 she was a Finalist and recipient of the Renié Prize. She is a 2016 Winner of the Astral Artists national auditions.
Emily works extensively with established and emerging composers alike, which led to commendation from the New York Times for “singing well and playing beautifully.” The 2021-2022 season marks Emily’s launch of GroundWork(s), a initiative commissioning fifty American composers, one from each state, for harp-centric works. Each piece will premiere in the composer’s hometown, celebrating the communities that first supported them. Current projects include a solo harp piece by Michael Ippolito, and chamber works by Reena Esmail, Aaron Holloway Nahum, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate.
In Dallas, Emily is Artistic Director of Fine Arts Chamber Players, a concert series that presents local musicians in chamber music concerts free of charge to the general public. During the pandemic, she spearheaded FACP’s virtual concert series, learning video and audio editing to produce online concert premieres.
A strong believer in music’s powerful impact, Levin organized a concert series in early 2017 with her fellow Dallas musicians, with all profits benefiting the International Rescue Committee and the Refugee Services of Texas. She is passionate about sharing music in schools, giving free masterclasses and interactive performances to students and young harpists.
In September 2021, Emily will make her debut at the Ojai Music Festival, performing the Debussy Dances with the Ojai Festival Orchestra and conductor John Adams. She will also perform chamber works by Gabriela Ortiz and Dylan Mattingly, including the world premiere of Mattingly’s Sunt Lacrimae Rerum for two harps and two detuned pianos.
Emily reunites with duo partner Colin Davin for concerts across the states, including their rescheduled CD release concert at the Lyric Chamber Music Society in New York. With harpist Michelle Gott, she performs Karlheinz Stockhausen’s momumental Freude for two harps at the Tucson Harp Fest and in Dallas for the new music group Voices of Change. In spring 2022, Emily performs Michael Ippolito’s solo harp piece Mythos, written for Emily and commissioned by GroundWork(s), in the composer’ hometown of Tampa and at the University of Texas San Marcos.
As live performances resume, Emily’s curated programs focus on the nature of home. For her laureate recital with Astral Artists, she explores the impact of the physical home and its power to consecrate, confine, or destroy. At the Lakes Area Music Festival, she presents The Glass Salon, which examines the domestic roots of the harp and its curious portrayal as a feminine instrument. And the upcoming season of Fine Arts Chamber Players season gives voice to lesser-known composers in programs intertwined by family and lineage, exploring the ways music connects us to the past and to each other.
Emily was named Adjunct Associate Professor of Harp at Southern Methodist University in 2019, and is also on Faculty at the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar. She received her Master of Music degree in 2015 at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Nancy Allen, where she was a teaching fellow for both the Ear Training and Educational Outreach departments. A self-described bookworm, she completed undergraduate degrees in Music and History at Indiana University with Susann McDonald. Her honors history thesis discussed the impact of war songs on the French Revolution.
Emily lives in Dallas with her partner, composer Jonathan Cziner, and their dogs Charlie and JoJo.