updated 2 May 2023
© Dorian Levine

Josh Levine

American composer born 3 March 1959 in Corvallis, Oregon.

Josh Levine studied guitar, then composition with Balz Trümpy at the City of Basel Music Academy. He moved to Paris where he stayed for some time, attending lessons with Guy Reibel at the Conservatoire de Paris. In 1987, he won first prize for electroacoustic music at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition for his acousmatic piece Tel and, in 1992, a Euphonie d’Or. He was a scholar at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 1991. In 1992, he went to the University of California, San Diego, where he worked with Brian Ferneyhough and earned his doctorate. He completed the Cursus program in composition and computer music from 1994 to 1995 at IRCAM.

From 2000 to 2008, he taught composition, electronic music, and music theory at San Francisco State University before being appointed assistant professor of composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. Levine has also taught composition at University of California in San Diego, at Harvard, and at Stanford, as well as during his artistic residency at the soundSCAPE festival in Italy and as “Senior Composer” at the 2016 and 2017 June in Buffalo festivals.

His pieces have been commissioned by Magnus Andersson, Aiyun Huang, Sean Dowgray, Marcus Weiss, Parker Ramsay, Jürg Wyttenbach, Tony Arnold and JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Soundscape Trio, Calliope Duo, Ensemble Contrechamps, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Pro Helvetia Foundation. They have been performed at IRCAM, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Merkin Hall in New York, and festivals in Melbourne, Los Angeles, and Stockholm.

Levine is interested in the unity of memory and imagination: remembering as an act of imagining, and imagining as an act of remembering. Central to his work is the question of time: of its fluidity, repetition, and change. Several of his pieces are presented as variations on one or many musical phrases, notably in Clear Sky (2005-2006), Praeludium (2008-2009), and Sixty Cycles (2017). In Former Selves (2007), elements pulled from previous pieces appear both in the instrumentals and as samples transformed by electronics. The piece appears as a counterpart to Glimpses (1986), one of his earliest works, in which Levine develops unfinished “aural images,” or glimpses, of musical ideas that he senses will influence his work in the future, leaving their incompleteness to the listener’s imagination. Much of this material will be found again, “not unlike an acquaintance one encounters years later in another place under different circumstances.”1

In 2018, Levine received a scholarship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. On this occasion, he worked on a cycle of pieces for string quartet entitled Again Not the Same River, which investigated “interactions between cyclical architectonics and evolving material that reflect the complex juxtaposition in our lives of recurrence and change.”2

1. Note of intent for the piece on Levine’s website.
2. Josh Levine’s page on the Radcliffe Institute website.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2023


Site du compositeur, University of Iowa, Edge of the Center, Harvard


Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en mai 2023).


  • Josh LEVINE, Danses vagues, Conor Nelson : flûte, Thomas Rosenkranz : piano, dans « Nataraja », 1 CD New Focus Recordings, 2014, fcr154.
  • Josh LEVINE, Transparency, Tony Arnold : soprano, Aiyun Huang : percussion, Thomas Rosenkranz : piano, dans « Inflorescence: Music From soundSCAPE », 1 CD New Focus Recordings, 2013, fcr140.
  • Mark APPLEBAUM, Triple Concerto (Josh Levine : guitare), dans « Martian Anthropology », Innova Recordings, 2004, Innova 617.
  • Josh LEVINE, Tel, dans « Cultures Électroniques 2 », 2 CD Le Chant du Monde, 1987, LDC 278044/45.