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Levi Gershkowitz and Stephen Katz

June 16, 2018, 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Cellist and award-winning composer Stephen Katz has charted new territory for the rhythmic potential of the cello with the groundbreaking approach he calls Flying Pizzicato. His compositions juggle two or three “voices” at a time, making music that simultaneously lays grooves, weaves tunes, and lifts spirits. 

Stephen has premiered his cello compositions at Carnegie Recital Hall and performed internationally as a soloist, and with the Paul Winter Consort, Rachael Sage,  the Essex String Quartet and with Susan Werner. Stephen is a veteran cello teacher and has been a regular workshop presenter at the New Directions Cello Festival since it’s inception in 1994. He also has the distinction of being the most frequent guest performer at the Fest. An improviser and composer in the Dance world, Stephen has collaborated and performed with Andrew Harwood, Chris Aiken, members of Pilobolus and Beverly Blossom dance companies, and has been a Visiting Artist at Amherst College (Massachusetts). As a co-founder of the movement/theater company Seen & Heard with the late dancer and monologist BJ Goodwin, he literally danced with the cello while accompanying the dramas they played out on stage.

Stephen is a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient through the SUNY/Buffalo Arts in Healthcare Initiative. As a film composer, his score for The Rich Have Their Own Photographers won the Jury Prize Gold Medal for Best Impact of Music in a Documentary at the Park City Film Music Festival. He also scored Two Square Miles which has been broadcast nationally on PBS/Independent Lens. Stephen’s performances have been broadcast on PRI’s Performance Today. A native of San Francisco, Stephen received a Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He lives in Haydenville, Massachusetts with his wife Beth and son Olin.

Levi Gershkowitz is a multi-instrumentalist and improvisational performer. The music he creates stems from a mirrored ear held to the natural world, as well as personal relationships he holds dear with instrument builders around the world and the stories their rare work carries. Since 2015, he has embarked on an exploration of HandPan/Pantam and other Hang-inspired instruments, seeking unique pairings of these enchanted sound sculptures with traditional Turkish instruments, cello, singing bowls and others.

In addition to being an amateur musician, Levi is an internationally renowned photographer, writer and advocate for rare disease. He lives in Plainfield, Massachusetts and is the owner of Living in the Light—a company focused around the premise of demedicalizing the personal experiences of people living with rare and orphaned diseases in order to allow their wisdom and beauty to shine through. To learn more, visit: