A Minute with Max Levinson

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Photo: Liz Linder Photography

Known as an “intelligent and sensitive artist with a fearless technique,” Boston-based pianist Max Levinson will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Orchestra of Indian Hill in their “A Story to Tell” program on Saturday, March 18.

What kind of story does the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 tell?  How does it make you feel to play it?
Rachmaninov suffered from depression and despite his genius went through periods when he didn’t produce any music as a result of the debilitating effects of this. This Concerto was dedicated to his therapist, and for me as well this piece feels like an opportunity to pour out emotion, ranging from tenderness and love to passion, regret, anger, both hope and hopelessness. It takes a lot out of me to perform this piece, both physically and emotionally.

As an advocate for nurturing young audiences, how would you say orchestral and chamber music are/should be relevant to today’s young people in such a tech-heavy culture?
Great music in what we call the “classical” genre speaks to a part of our soul that it alone can reach. It is also an important part of music to experience it live, with the musicians’ presence felt and some element of unpredictability — and even danger — in that live moment.

…this piece feels like an opportunity to pour out emotion, ranging from tenderness and love to passion, regret, anger, both hope and hopelessness.

Based on your experience as a performing artist and seasoned music educator, what is THE piece of advice you would give to an aspiring pianist/musician?
My advice to any aspiring pianist: practice like crazy, listen to the advice of your teachers and to the artistry of great pianists, and don’t be afraid to fail. Try things out, and see where they lead.  Read more advice from Max on how to practice.

Outside of teaching and performing, what are your favorite pastimes?
When I’m not playing or teaching, I most value time with my family. Also, I don’t have a lot of time for it, but I do like to eat at good restaurants.

What’s on your music playlist right now?
I love to listen to music that I can’t play on the piano, like music for orchestra or voice or string quartet. My desert island playlist definitely includes the Schubert C Major Quintet, Mahler Symphony #4 and Beethoven Symphony #7. And I can definitely get in to less weighty things sometimes, like Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin, and Michael Jackson.

Listen to Performances

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Buy Tickets to Orchestra of Indian Hill: A Story to Tell | Saturday, March 18 at 7:30pm

This concert is sponsored by Curry Printing and supported by Atty. Ray Lyons.

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