Graduating cum laude from Yale University, and with an MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, Hugh Levick set off for Paris to write a novel. In Paris he returned to his musical beginnings and the saxophone, studying and playing with Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy and the Chicago Art Ensemble, amongst others.
Later in NYC he studied composition at Julliard with Stanley Wolfe and David Diamond, and privately with John Cage and Vinko Globokar.
Hugh Levick lives between Los Angeles, where he is the founder and artistic director of the HEAR NOW Festival, and Paris, where he is the artistic director of HEAR NOW—Paris.
As a composer Levick has received commissions and grants from the NEA, the NY State Council for the Arts, Mutable Music, the King’s Fountain Foundation, Pianospheres, the Environment Maze Project, the French Ministry of Culture, and the Eric Stokes Fund.
Performed in — among other places - Los Angeles, Paris, NYC, Slovenia, Switzerland and Spain, Levick’s music has been described by critic Rodney Punt as “channeling Bach’s mental energies and Hindemith’s angularities.”
LA Times music critic, Mark Swed, has called Levick’s work ‘outstanding’, and composer William Kraft says that “(Levick’s) effort is to accept the fragments of our fundamentally shattered world and imaginatively transform them into vessels of beauty .”
In 2011 Levick created HEAR NOW – A Festival of New Music by Contemporary Los Angeles composers. Over the past 9 years, HEAR NOW has presented the music of over 130 Los Angeles composers. In 2013, Esa-Pekka Salonen became Honorary Artistic Director of HEAR NOW.
In 2012 Signature Records, the dynamic and eclectic label sponsored by Radio France Musique, produced and recorded the DIOTIMA String Quartet playing Levick’s three string quartets. THE UNIMAGINED: PREPARATIONS FOR THE UNKNOWN was released in September, 2013. (“This is a CD UFO!! …sensational! LIBERATION)
Signature released Levick’s second CD, REMNANTS OF SYMMETRY, in 2018 “(..a serious and striking disc…. and a sound world well worth exploring.” Hugill’s Planet)
A third CD from Signature is scheduled for 2020.
Levick has adapted Kafka's first novel, AMERIKA, into an opera entitled THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED and has written the libretto and the music for BANG FOR THE BUCK, an opera in 2 acts. Levick’s 3rd opera, PARADISE LAST, will create—along with THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED and BANG FOR THE BUCK, a trilogy which extends from the early 20th century to 2050.
Levick recently premiered THE AFTERWORLD for speaking percussionist (Nick Terry), at the Wende Museum in Culver City. After MAYBE THE STORY OF ‘ I ‘ for pianist Mark Robson and THE MESSIAH for cellist Cecilia Tsan, THE AFTERWORLD is the third in a series of pieces for speaking soloists. Levick is writing both the music and the texts for this series.
Levick’s commission for Brightwork newmusic, FROM THE RUINS, was be performed as part of HEAR NOW 2019. He is currently at work on a piece for soprano and 10 piece ensemble, SHARDS, and will present a new, commissioned work, INCLUSION, for pianist, Neal Stulberg, and the UCLA Philharmonia at HEAR NOW 2020.