Carol J Levin is a contemporary improvising harpist with classical roots
From 1956-62 I attended the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, finding an affinity for the harp in an instrument exploration class. I studied with Jill Bailiff Reyes at Northwestern and Chicago Symphony harpist, Edward Druzinsky and played with the Chicago Youth Orchestra.
During college years, focusing on theater design and performance, I drifted away from instrumental music and eventually sold my concert harp. (You can see it here and in the movie My Bodyguard, played at the Pump Room in Chicago’s Ambassador East Hotel.)
Decades later, living in Seattle, my husband surprised me with a birthday gift of a Dusty Strings lever harp,on which I noodled for several years while our son, Josh Deutsch, was becoming a jazz musician, trumpeter and composer. When he moved on to conservatory and career (see Links), I followed his lead in joining Ev Stern’s Jazz Workshop, learned to read charts, joined the MoodSwings women’s big band, (now Rain City Jazz Orchestra) and began to sit in at jazz and blues sessions around town, enjoying lessons and workshops with jazz harpists including Park Stickney, Deborah Henson Conant, Celso Duarte, Alfredo Orlando Ortiz, Maeve Gilchrist and others.
Factoid: I also have played in several online virtual orchestra projects with musicians from around the world (see links).
In 2013 I took an adventurous leap and attended the Dutch Impro Academy in Amsterdam with faculty from the fabulous ICP ensemble including wild man Han Bennink, kick-starting my work with electric harp and effects, and kindling a passionate interest in free improvisation. Since then, I've been welcomed and inspired by Seattle's improvising community, allowing me to play with so many brave and brilliant musicians who jump into the deep end to make fully collaborative, in-the-moment creative music.