Ira Levin has conducted over 1000 operatic performances and his repertoire encompasses 70 different titles. His symphonic repertoire includes most of the standard repertoire as well as many lesser-known works. He has worked with innumerable internationally renowned conductors, instrumentalists, singers and stage directors and is also an active concert pianist and composer/arranger.
Since September 2019 he is the Maestro Titular (Cief Conductor) of the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, the largest opera house in Brazil and the second largest in South America after the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.
He was the Principal Guest Conductor of the legendary Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires from 2011-15, where he conducted 12 major opera productions, including the American premieres of Enescu’s Oedipe and Glanert’s Caligula, and many symphonic concerts. He previously served as Music Director and Artistic Director of the Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo (2002-2005) and of the National Theater of Brazil, in Brasilia (2007-2010), bringing both international acclaims. He introduced several important works by Mahler, Janacek, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Busoni, Enescu, Schoenberg, Schnittke, Corigliano and many others to Brazil.
He held posts as assistant conductor at the Frankfurt Opera (1985-88), principal conductor of the Bremen Opera (1988-1996) and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf-Duisburg (1996-2002) and as the principal guest conductor of the Kassel Opera (1994-1998). He has performed with many orchestras and at opera houses throughout the world including the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, the Düsseldorfer Symphony, the Duisburg Philharmonic, the Hannover State Orchestra of Lower Saxony, the Bruckner Orchestra of Linz, the Badische Staatskapelle of Karlsruhe, the Bremen Philharmonic, the Dublin Opera, the Montpellier Opera, the Norske Opera in Oslo, the Norrlands Opera in Umea, Sweden, the Cape Town Opera, the National Portuguese Symphony Orchestra in Lisbon, the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic and all of the major orchestras in Brazil. He gave his highly successful debut in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall in November 2013 with the Berlin Symphony, conducting his orchestration of Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica and Schumann’s Fourth Symphony as well as playing a Mozart piano concerto.
Ira Levin’s recordings include two CDs of works by the American composer Michael Colina with the London Symphony on the Fleur de Son and Naxos labels, which was followed in the fall of 2014 by Colina’s Requiem with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on the same labels. His CD of his original transcriptions Ira Levin piano transcriptions released by Lindoro, won the Bravo award in Brazil as best classical CD of 2007. The first studio recording of the 1899 first edition of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 on the Lindoro label will be followed in 2016 by the world premiere recording of the 1892 first edition of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2, both with the Symphony Orchestra of the Norrlands Opera, Sweden.
The Finnish Edition Tilli has published all of his numerous transcriptions for piano. His orchestrations for large orchestra of Busoni’s monumental piano work, Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on BACH, Franck’s piano quintet as Symphony in f-minor five piano and choral works by Rachmaninoff as Five Pieces for Orchestra and Reger’s massive Variations and Fugue on a theme by Bach opus 81 have had performances with the Berlin Symphony at Berlin Philharmonic Hall, with the leading orchestras of Hannover, Brandenburg. Helsinki, Turku, Buenos Aires, Porto Alegre, Montevideo and elsewhere and are being recorded in 2016 for both CD and DVD releases. They are also published by Edition Tilli.
An accomplished pianist, Ira Levin was the first-prize winner of the American National Chopin Competition in 1980. He studied for eight years with the legendary Jorge Bolet at the Curtis Institute, later becoming his assistant, while also studying conducting with Max Rudolf. He has performed throughout the United States, South America, and Europe and continues to appear in recital and concert, often leading concertos from the keyboard as well, including works by Mozart, Weber, Bach and even Brahms’s second concerto, which he conducted and played after a major soloist cancelled on short notice.
He has lived since 2011 in Berlin.