Painting: Strange Fruit
Paul Leavitt made his debut as a concert pianist at 15 with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. A laureate of the International Steinway Competition for Young Talents in Paris, France in 1989, he holds a BFA from SUNY Purchase and a MM from The Juilliard School. As a pianist he has given concerts in prestigious venues such at the Espace Pierre Cardin in Paris, and has given solo organ recitals in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. He has given piano recitals for the Leschetizky Association in New York, took part in “Live Music by Living Composers” performing the premiere of his own works.
Leavitt’s Magnificat for soloists, SATB chorus and orchestra was given its world premiere at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in December 2012, with the National Gallery Orchestra and the composer on the podium. His Requiem, for chorus, soloists and orchestra, premiered under the direction of Dr. Thea Kano in February 2009. Cecelia Porter, contributing critic of the Washington Post, wrote, “Paul Leavitt’s Requiem should belong in every chorus’s repertoire. It is deeply expressive and skillfully written, and successfully combines the sense of overwhelming grief and consolation that suffuse the Requiems of Mozart, Verdi, Brahms and Fauré.” The New York City Master Chorale with Maestro Kano performed the European première of his Requiem at the Eglise St. Sulpice under the auspices of the Paris Rotary Club in April, 2011, followed by the premiere at Alice Tully Hall in May 2011.
Since 2014, Mr. Leavitt has been the conductor of the Arioso Chorale of the Friday Morning Music Club of Washington, DC. Since that time the Chorale has performed a substantial number of the major works for chorus, soloists and orchestra. In October 2017, Mr. Leavitt conducted the Hamburg premiere of this work, leading the Flottbek Kantorei and the Musici Emeriti Orchester in Hamburg, followed by the premiere in Vilnius with the Lithuanian National Ballet & Opera Orchestra under the baton of Maetstro Robertas Šervenikas. The chorale performed the Italian premiere of his Requiem at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in July 2022.
Leavitt’s choral works have been performed by Maestros Norman Scribner, creator and artistic director of The Choral Arts Society of Washington, J. Reilly Lewis, director of the Washington Bach Consort and the Cathedral Choral Society, and Scott Tucker, Dr. Mark Whitmire, NOVA Community Chorus and Ullyses James, Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra at Church of the Epiphany in WDC. He has also composed commissions for Choral Arts, the Congressional Chorus and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. Cantata Emmanuel, a work scored for four soloists, SATB chorus and orchestra, was commissioned by Church of the Reformation for their 140th anniversary celebration in November 2009 and performed with the composer on the podium. In 2021 two recent commissions were premiered by Choral Arts at the Kennedy Center. Leavitt’s discography includes Requiem and other choral works and Chopin: 4 Ballades, Barcarolle and Sonata in b minor. His compositions are available through Lumenaria Music Publishing.