Ron Levy is a professional pianist, composer and teacher based in the Greater Los Angeles area.
His music has been performed by South Coast Symphony, Irvine Valley College Orchestra, flutist Mary Palchak, trombonist Amy Bowers, clarinetist Lea Steffens, the Synerjazz ensemble, and many others.
"...notable" — Los Angeles Times
“...memorable” — Orange County Register
Ron holds a BA and MA in music composition from UCLA, where he studied piano with Edward Auer and Mark Richman, and composition with Paul Reale, Henri Lazarof and Elaine Barkin. While at UCLA, he collaborated with choreographers in the renowned UCLA Dance Department, as well as with graduate student filmmakers in the Film and Theater Department. Ron was awarded the Henry Mancini Scholarship for the Composition of Music for Motion Pictures and Television.
He also attended Orange Coast College, studying music theory, composition and electronic music with Dr. Edith Smith, and jazz with Charles "Doc" Rutherford and with Charles Otwell.
"...one of the best musicians around" — Michael Sharman
Ron began formal piano lessons at age six from Kathryn Hyde in Ft Lauderdale, FLA. Ron also taught himself a bit of guitar at age fourteen. Academic studies were crucial, but the real training came from performing on bandstands in nightclubs, restaurants and concert stages.
Music for Dance
Ron worked with dancers throughout college, and his first full time position was as dance accompanist in Idyllwild. Ron's musical creativity has flourished in these collaborative environments; he invented his own accompaniments, always carried a music notebook, and early on began the practice of jotting down musical themes whenever one seemed worth holding onto. Much of this material was later incorporated into various concert music works.
UCLA had a renowned dance program, led by Allegra Fuller Snyder (daughter of Buckminster Fuller). It was there that Ron began a fruitful creative collaboration with the innovative choreographer Sandra Christensen. He collaborated with other choreographers, notably Hae Kyung Lee for the Chopsticks and Sneakers series at The House in Santa Monica.
Ron also worked as a UCLA Dance Department accompanist, and he accompanied classes in the 1987 summer Bella Lewitzky Institute.
More Music for Dance
Upon completion of his Master's Degree at UCLA, Ron took a position at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA, now the Idyllwild Arts Academy), where his duties were primarily in the dance department. He also composed music for student theater productions and for the resident chamber orchestra. He served in the Music Department there as accompanist, chamber music coach, and class and private instructor, and was accompanist for the Idyllwild Master Chorale, performing every December in Handel's Messiah as well as other concerts throughout the year.
Towards the end of his tenure at ISOMATA Ron developed a severe overuse injury which threatened to end his performing career. In an extremely fortunate turn of events, Ron was introduced to the Dorothy Taubman approach. Ron worked closely with Taubman-trained pianist Nina Scolnik to recover function in his hands; he attended workshops in Mountain View, CA and Amherst, MA, as well as a Body Mapping seminar, all to further enhance his understanding of the human body as it relates to instrumental performance. This work not only rescued Ron's own performing technique, enabling him to resume a full-time performing schedule, but also provided him with powerful tools and knowledge which informs his teaching approach.
Ron relocated to Orange County, California in the summer of 1992, buckling down to study and "learn the ropes" of jazz in earnest. This led to a position at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, a "steady gig" which lasted almost 10 years during which he worked with many great vocalists including Andrea Miller, Catte Adams, Leslie Lewis, and Julie Ragins, backed by a brilliant rhythm section led by drummer Kris Grayson Berry.
Around the same time in the early 1990's he began working with Dr. Jim Turrell at the Center for Spiritual Living Newport-Mesa. This position has brought into contact with a myriad of wonderful musicians, meeting each week to provide exciting music for mindful worship.
In 2016, Ron began his position as Musical Director at St Mark Presbyterian in Newport Beach, leading "Synerjazz", the jazz-oriented rhythm section/house band, for informal Saturday afternoon worship under the direction of Pastor Mark Davis.
Ron is also involved with the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County (JCoOC), working with Rabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin along with singer-guitarist Jason Feddy to provide exuberant musical accompaniment for the Collaborative's many activities, including High Holy Days and other services throughout the year.
Throughout all these performance obligations, Ron continues to compose and bring his own music to the public.
Ron's music is published by Piano Pronto Publishing. and by Thinkling Music (ASCAP).
"... the ultimate pro" — Derek Bordeaux