Michael Levy is a multi-talented musician & prolific composer, who since 2006, has focused his unique skills, at both intensively researching & recreating the ancient playing-techniques of the lyres of antiquity. Basing these techniques from both illustrations of ancient lyre players and the various playing-techniques still practiced today in Africa, he has independently produced 14 albums of ancient lyre music in just over 3 years...
For the majority of Michael's albums, he plays an evocation of an ancient Biblical lyre called the “Kinnor” – once played by his very own, very ancient Levite ancestors in the Temple of Jerusalem, to accompany the singing of the Levitical Choir. His instrument is based on depictions of Temple lyres depicted on ancient Jewish coins minted at the time of the Simon Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman occupation of Judea (132–136 CE). The Kinnor is documented in both the Biblical texts & the writings of the 1st century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, who actually witnessed the Levites play their lyres in the Temple of Jerusalem during the 1st century CE.
As the Kinnor is strikingly similar to the ancient Egyptian lyre of the New Kingdom, the ancient Greek Kithara & later, the Roman Kithara, Michael has also explored evoking & recreating the music of ancient Egypt, the music of ancient Greece & the music of ancient Rome, with both original compositions for lyre in a selection of some of the original ancient musical modes, as well as arrangements of some of some of the actual music of ancient Greece.
Recently, a selection of Michael’s lyre music featured as part of the British Festival of Archaeology Week, as background music for the show “Skies of Ancient Egypt & Greece” at the Planetarium in the World Museum, Liverpool, UK. His live performance of "Hurrian Hymn (Text H6) c.1400BCE", the oldest fragment of written music so far discovered in History, also recently featured in an article in “The Biblical Archaeology Review”.
Michael's live evocation of the music of ancient Rome is to be featured in Waldemar Januszczaka's new BBC 4 Documentary Series "The Dark Ages", on the art & architecture of the Dark Ages, .
His arrangement of the 2000 year old “Delphic Hymn To Apollo” was used in a DVD lecture “The Great Tours: Greece & Turkey”, produced by The Great Courses Teaching Company
Future projects include the use of Michael's unique historical music in Michael D Perkin's feature new film "Becket 2" & in 2013, for Alexander Nikolaou's forthcoming documentary on ancient Cyprus - "Cyprus Throughout History" .
Tracks from his albums "Apollo's Lyre" & "The Ancient Greek Lyre" ) featured in an audio book by TM Camp, called "The Cradle". The book is inspired, in part, by the story of 'Baucis and Philemon' from Ovid - the book is currently be freely downloadable from iTunes Stores.
Michael was born in Liverpool in 1968 & studied Philosophy at the University of Hull. After living in Manchester, where for many years, he worked as both a piano tutor & support worker for adults with learning disabilities, he now lives with his wife & daughter, Rosalind & Rosie, on the border of semi-rural South Wales, UK : where in his new role, as a full-time "Musical Shaman" , he continues to his relentless quest - to recreate the music of the ancient world...