James Levy

James Levy

Professorial Lecturer
Phillips Hall B-108
Phone: 202-994-6246

Areas of Expertise

Jazz Piano, Jazz Band, Musicianship

James Levy is a pianist, educator and composer. Active on the Washington, D.C. music scene since the early eighties, he has played virtually all of the area Jazz clubs, the Kennedy Center and at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival representing South Africa with vocalist Thembi Mtshali and Mahala. His piano style has been compared to that of Duke Ellington by The Washington Post’s Joseph McLellan. CD releases include Finally with Jazz vocalist Sharon Clark, as well as this year’s Americana with Clark and violinist Robert Spates. Introducing King James and the Serfs of Swing, received a glowing review from The Washington Post’s Mike Joyce “a veritable faculty of Washington-based Jazz musicians and educators...school’s out and the dance in on.” His title music for To The Moon and Beyond has been heard nationally on PBS.

Levy’s Sci-Fi Rock Opera, When ET Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, has received five productions in the DC area, funded, in part, by a grant from the Montgomery Arts and Humanities Council. Reviews include, “James Levy has created a bath of aural joy,” “Impressive and catchy,” and “5/5 Stars.” Levy’s Passion Oratorio was premiered in May of 2012 at the Rockville Civic Center with renowned tenor Thomas Young as soloist. The choir was anchored by members of the Rockville United Church where Levy was Organist/Choir Director from 1991-2012. 

On the faculty of the George Washington University since 1984, Levy is responsible for many innovations in the music department. He instituted the weekly Jazz Jam sessions in 1985, now the longest running jam session in DC, created a number of new Jazz courses and authored the department’s Jazz studies minor. A “highly effective” educator, he has taught in the DC public schools since 2006, currently teaching at Brightwood Educational Center.


Bachelor of Music (Theory and Composition), The George Washington University (Phi Beta Kappa), 1983
Master of Music in Music Theory, University of Maryland, 1993