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  About Rob Levit


Rob Levit is a multi-directional artist. While principally known as a guitarist and leader of the Rob Levit Trio renowned for its jazz renditions and improvisations, he also paints, writes poetry and essays and is active in infusing creativity and leadership into schools, communities and the workplace. Levit lives on the cutting-edge of artistic inspiration and innovation and is a gifted speaker and facilitator on leadership, team building, and the creative process. Recently, he served as an Artist-In-Residence for six years at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, the first musician selected to that position. He has given presentations for the Moss Foundation for Children’s Education, Daimler-Chrysler, Northwestern Mutual,Anne Arundel County Public Schools, New Jersey Hospital Association, Leadership Anne Arundel and many others.


In July and August 2006, Levit served as a fellow for the APPEX program at UCLA’s Center for Intercultural Performance where he lived, collaborated, and performed with creative artists from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Germany, and the United States. The program was sponsored in part by the United States Department of State. In September 2006, Levit was the recipient of the Annie Award for performing arts given annually to artists “who have made a lasting, significant and inspiring contribution to an art form, an arts organization, and to the wider community of Anne Arundel County.” In October 2006, he was awarded the City of Annapolis Mayor’s Come Together Award for citizens who “have demonstrated significant contributions to the spirit of community civility.” In January 2007, he was a recipient of Capital-Gazette Leadership Anne Arundel’s Community Trustee Award for his community programs, leadership and involvement. In January 2007, he founded 2C (Creating Communities) to foster creativity and the arts for the underserved with a focus on elementary school children, hospital patients and adults with mental illness. He is a multiple-time recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award and one of 10 composers to receive the inaugural jazz composition commission from Chamber Music America in 2000.


As an arts integration specialist Levit travels statewide working to harness the power of the arts as a learning tool in the classroom environment. He is on the roster of Maryland State Arts Council, Montgomery County Arts Council and Arts Council of Anne Arundel County. His organization, Creating Communities, received the Innovative Program award for the Arts Mentorship Academy for under-served youth, from the Volunteer Center of Anne Arundel County in October 2008.


Major performances as a leader and co-leader include: Montreal International Jazz Festival, Boston Globe Jazz Festival, Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Texaco New York Jazz Festival, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts (with Ballet Theater of Maryland), Blues Alley, The Regatta Bar and the World Festival of Sacred Music.


He has released and recorded over fifteen commercially available compact discs. He has painted the album art for his last four CD’s. His 2005 CD Touch the Spirit, a solo instrumental guitar album, was received to critical acclaim and climbed to #11 on the national New Age/World Music charts. In November 2006, Levit released Songs of Healing, an album of original guitar pieces designed for friend, families, and patients of Hospice of the Chesapeake. In 2007, he served as music consultant and composer for many tracks on the acclaimed Annapolis film Pip and Zastrow. In September 2008, he traveled to Los Angeles to perform at the opening concert of the World Festival of Sacred Music with musicians from around the world, the only American on the opening gala concert at UCLA’s Royce Hall.  www.roblevit.com


Archived Bio

Guitarist, composer and educator Rob Levit has been described by the Ottawa International Jazz Festival as "...one of the finest young guitarists on today's jazz scene." He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the 2000 Chamber Music America New Works: Creation and Presentation (Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project) Award, the Jazz Composers Alliance/Julius Hemphill Prize, and four consecutive Maryland State Arts Council Individual Arts Awards. Inspired by great composers as diverse as Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Sam Rivers and Pat Metheny, Levit's music integrates world, rock, jazz and classical sources with improvisation to create an exciting fusion of sounds. His band, the Rob Levit Group, has performed at the Kennedy Center, Montreal Jazz Festival, the Knitting Factory, and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival. Levit Produces, records, and releases his own music on the Symbol System label -- a label devoted to fostering collaboration, creativity, and economic self-sufficiency. He also gives workshops on all aspects of jazz and improvisation.

Guitarist, composer, educator, and band leader Rob Levit, a native of Richmond, Virginia, resides in Annapolis, Maryland. He received his master's degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory in Boston. While there, his group, a quintet comprised of trumpet, flute, guitar, bass, and drums, was signed to Brownstone Recordings and recorded the compact disc, Singularity. Released in October 1994, the disc received acclaim in New England and nationally. In his year end column, jazz critic Bob Blumenthal of the Boston Globe recognized him as a rising jazz star. The Rob Levit Group was nominated "Best Jazz Act" by the Boston Phoenix. Subsequently, it was chosen as the opening act for Arturo Sandoval in the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, one of the most prestigious American jazz festivals. The group's performance received positive reviews in the area's two primary newspapers, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Singularity was featured on Chronicle, a popular television newsmagazine, as a recommended compact disc. In addition, one cut from the CD was selected by the Massachusetts Governor's Alliance Against Drugs for a public service announcement.

In 1995, Levit moved to New York City where he formed a new group featuring saxophonist Chris Cheek, percussionist John Mettam, and bassist Stephan Crump. Together they recorded two CD's of Levit's original compositions, Afterimage and East River View. In 1996, the Rob Levit Group was Artist-In-Residence at the University of Virginia and Collegiate School as part of an east coast tour. In July 1997, the group performed at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival where Levit was described as " ... one of the finest young guitarists on today's jazz scene." In July 1998, the group played on the mainstage of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Levit was recently awarded the Julius Hemphill Composition Award by the Jazz Composers Alliance, an Individual Artist Award by the Maryland State Arts Council as well as an ASCAP Special Award for his original compositions. He performs regionally at venues like the Knitting Factory (New York), the Texaco Jazz Festival, and Blues Alley (Washington) and currently teaches guitar privately and at Loyola College in Baltimore. He is signed to Whirlybird Records, a national label, founded by electronic music pioneer Simeon of Silver Apples.

Over the past several years, he has established himself as a composer whose band performs original works that draw from a myriad of influences including twentieth century classical music, rock, world traditions, and modern jazz. His musical and compositional approach, called Symbol System, seeks to unify these diverse musical traditions into a personal style.