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Born in 1943
Inducted in 2003
James Levine was born June 23, 1943, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He began to play piano as a small child, and at age ten made his concert debut as soloist in Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at a youth concert of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He studied music with Walter Levin, first violinist in the La Salle Quartet. He took piano lessons with Rudolf Serkin at Marlboro School of Music, and later studied with Rosina Lhevine at Aspen. In 1964 Levine graduated from Juilliard School of Music. In 1965 he was appointed assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. He made his conducting debut in 1970 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and his Metropolitan Opera debut in June 1971——which led to his appointment as principal conductor in 1973, then music director in 1975, then artistic director (the first in its history) in 1986. Under his leadership, the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus reached such high levels of artistry that Levine started a regular concert series for the orchestra (and chamber ensembles thereof) at Carnegie Hall. In October 2004, Levine took the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and now splits his time between New York and Boston.