Gary Levinson has served as the Senior Principal Associate Concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony since 2002. Praised for his intense musicality and adroit technique by American and European critics, he was chosen by Zubin Mehta to join the New York Philharmonic before the completion of his undergraduate degree from the Juilliard School in 1988. Mr. Levinson then made his New York Philharmonic solo debut in 1991, coinciding with the completion of his Master’s of Music degree at Juilliard, where his teachers include Dorothy DeLay, Glenn Dicterow and Felix Galimir.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Levinson began studying the violin at the age of five with Professor Sergeev at the Leningrad Special Music School. After immigrating to the United States in 1977, he won the top prize at the 1986 Romano Romanini International Violin Competition in Brescia, Italy, as well as becoming the top American Prize winner at the 1987 Jacques Thibaud International Violin Competition in Paris, France.
Much sought-after as a chamber musician, Mr. Levinson has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Eugenia Zukerman, Lukas Foss, Carter Brey, Christopher O’Riley and Adam Neiman. Along with Ms. Zukerman and Mr. Neiman, they perform as Trio Virtuosi internationally. In March 1998, Mr. Levinson was appointed as the first violinist of the Elysium String Quartet. He performed at the inaugural season of the Mykonos International Music Festival in August 1998 as well as a gala concert honoring the Elysium String Quartet at the United States Ambassador’s Residence in Athens, Greece.
The summer season takes him to various music festivals, such as the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the Sunflower Music Festoval, the Florida Music Festival in Sarasota, Florida, the Utah Music Festival in Park City, Utah and the Arcady Music Festival in Maine. He served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival from 2001-2010. Abroad, he was featured in the Banhoff Rolandseck Festival, Germany in 1990 and South Korea in 1990 and 1994.
A champion of contemporary music, Mr. Levinson premiered and recorded several works dedicated to him by award winning Iranian-American composer, Behzad Ranjbaran. In March 2012, he is slated to record the Margaret Brouwer Violin Concerto under the baton of acclaimed maestro Jaap van Zweden. He has recently performed many chamber works of George Tsontakis, with a recording to be released under the Koch International label. In it he is collaborating with Melvin Chen, Robert Jolley, Sophie Shao and others. In 1996 he, along with his father, renowned double bassist Eugene Levinson, recorded the world premiere for CALA Records of Dances of Life, a bass and violin duo, written for and dedicated to the Levinsons. Mr. Levinson also collaborated with New York Philharmonic Principal English Hornist Thomas Stacy in a CD for CALA’s New York Legends series.
His CD, "My New York Years", has debuted to critical acclaim in January 2007. In the summer of 1999, Mr. Levinson completed a critically acclaimed all Mozart CD, featuring the Elysium String Quartet and three New York Philharmonic principals - Stanley Drucker, clarinet, Joseph Robinson, oboe and L. William Kuyper, French Horn. The American Record Guide hailed it “utterly Mozartean...full of good spirits and a real sense of occasion”. The CD is currently available. In the summer of 1999, Lucas Foss chose Mr. Levinson and the ESQ to collaborate with him on an all-Bach CD of works never before recorded in that artists’ distinguished career.
Mr. Levinson performs on an Antonio Stradivari violin, crafted in 1726. It is graciously made available for his use by the Dallas Symphony Association.
Daredjan Baya Kakouberi, pianist, has been hailed as a “treat to watch and hear” was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and made her debut at the age of eleven. After graduating from Tbilisi Special School of Music for the Talented and Gifted, she entered the Moscow Conservatory, where she continued her studies on the Master’s and Doctoral levels under the tutelage of famous pianist and professor, Sergei Dorenski, and Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medalist, Vladimir Krainev.
In March 2010, Dr. Kakouberi was honored as the recipient of the coveted International Ambassador for Cultural Exchange Award. Awarded by the Russian Winter Festival at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, this award recognizes outstanding achievement in performing and teaching disciplines domestically and abroad. In 2009, Ms. Kakouberi was engaged to tour China a soloist. Due to her much sought after teaching skills, she is also rounding out the cultural event by presenting master classes in the leading conservatories in mainland China. She is the head of the piano department at the 5th annual Elan International Music Festival held in Dallas for two weeks in June, www.elanmusicfestival.org
In 2008, she collaborated with violinist Gary Levinson in the recording of the complete sonatas for piano and violin by Beethoven. The project was spearheaded by the Classical Music Recording Foundation. The four CD set is slated for release n 2011. Ms. Kakouberi has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in Moscow, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Italy and the United States.
In 1996, she was among the “World’s Ten Most Distinguished Pianists” chosen by the Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition. In the summer of 2000, Ms. Kakouberi was chosen as recipient of the “Most Outstanding and Distinguished Pianist” award in the IBLA International Competition in Italy. In addition to her solo recitals, she has appeared as guest soloist in concerts throughout the US and Europe, including performances at Moscow Conservatory Great Hall, Steinway Hall in New York, and the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts in California.
As a chamber performer Ms. Kakouberi made her debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York in February 2002. Ms. Kakouberi returns to that venue in a scheduled appearance on the CMRF annual gala concert in the fall of 2011 at Weill Hall.
Noted as an outstanding Chamber Music Artist, Ms. Kakouberi is the Artistic Director of the Blue Candlelight Music Series in Dallas, Texas, www.bluecandlelight.org where she enjoys collaboration with internationally renowned artists. As a noted chamber musician she has appeared numerous times at the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, CO, where she was also a frequent soloist. She is a household name at the major venues in North Texas, such as the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts where she has appeared as a concerto soloist. Ms. Kakouberi regularly appears with her most gifted students at the Giovanni Adulti Concert Series held at the Piano Gallery in Dallas.
In an unprecedented project in the spring of 2009, Ms. Kakouberi has recorded the three books of the Russian Piano Technique, based on the teachings of Professor Nikolaev, to be used in practice and performance techniques for students of all levels.