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Jan 19 2024

Gershwin in Vienna – Gershwin and the Second Viennese School

Ensemble Room: Evelyn & Mo Ostin Music Center View Program

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Join the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience as we welcome renowned conductor and pianist Levi Hammer for an evening exploring the music of George Gershwin, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern.


About Levi Hammer:

Known for his remarkable range and versatility, American conductor Levi Hammer appears regularly as symphonic and operatic conductor, concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and art song collaborator. In his current season he performs across Europe and America, leading the Barrie Kosky production of Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) at the Berliner Ensemble, and conducting orchestras including a debut with the Athens State Orchestra. Additionally he will work as assistant conductor for productions of Das Rheingold at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Wozzeck at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. He will also perform “Gershwin in Vienna,” a solo piano program exploring the relationship between George Gershwin and the composers of the Second Viennese School.

Upon relocating to Germany, Hammer spent three seasons in the German opera house system, first at the Komische Oper Berlin, where he was entrusted with repertoire spanning the historical and modern canon, and continuing at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, where he conducted notable operatic performances and debuted as a ballet conductor. Hammer joined Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium Artists, working alongside Hannigan with orchestras and projects in Munich, Stockholm and Paris. With Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic he has prepared productions of Die Walküre, Tristan und Isolde and Das Rheingold, and has assisted Sir Simon Rattle on productions of Wozzeck and Tristan und Isolde at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in France.

Hammer served as Associate Conductor at the Castleton Festival, where he shared symphonic programs with Lorin Maazel, conducted new opera productions, and prepared operas and orchestral programs for Maazel. As Associate Conductor at Central City Opera (Colorado), he led performances including Ned Rorem’s Our Town, a work he studied with its composer. For four seasons he was also on the staff of Cincinnati Opera, first as Assistant Conductor and later Resident Conductor, in which capacity he conducted the Cincinnati Symphony. On the music staffs of most prestigious theaters in Europe he has conducted performances, played numerous song recitals and worked on every aspect of theatrical production, amassing a repertoire of over sixty operas with an emphasis on Mozart, Wagner and 20th century classics.

Hammer was Associate Conductor of the Akron Symphony for five seasons; there he conducted over 100 concerts, and led the preparation of all theatrical collaborations. As a recipient of the Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship, he spent a summer with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival, and appeared in recital with concertmaster Rainer Honeck. He was the Zander Conducting Fellow at the Boston Philharmonic, where he conducted an acclaimed concert of Mahler and Schoenberg. Hammer has acted as assistant conductor for some of the most esteemed conductors of our time, including Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Robert Spano, Donald Runnicles, Lorin Maazel, Matthias Pintscher, Oliver Knussen and Barbara Hannigan.

In addition to the standard repertoire, Hammer is adept in both baroque and contemporary music, with a special interest in expressionism and the Second Viennese School. Also a “pianist of commanding technique, with a keen sense of color and texture,” he has recently performed concerti of Ravel, Mozart and Gershwin, played with the Munich Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony, and has performed Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Aaron Copland’s complete music for piano on several occasions.

Hammer studied conducting, piano, composition and languages at the University Mozarteum Salzburg, Rice University, Arizona State University, and he recently completed a doctorate in orchestral conducting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His dissertation project, an arrangement of Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande in the tradition of Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performance, has been published by Universal Edition. His mentors include Barbara Hannigan, Lorin Maazel, Dennis Russell Davies, Kurt Masur, Mark Gibson and Christopher Wilkins.



This event is made possible by the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.



Like most of UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s programs, this event is FREE!  Early arrival is recommended. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. No RSVP required.

While Inside the Venue:

No Food or Drink allowed in the building.


This event is FREE! No RSVP required. Early arrival is recommended.


Self-service parking is available at UCLA’s Parking Structure #2 for events in Schoenberg Music Building and the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center. Costs range from $4 for 1 hour to $15 for all day. Evening rates (after 4 p.m.) are $3-$5 for 1 to 2 hours and $10 for all night. Learn more about campus parking.


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is eager to provide a variety of accommodations and services for access and communications. If you would like to request accommodations, please do so 10 days in advance of the event by emailing ADA@schoolofmusic.ucla.edu or calling (310) 825-0174.


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music welcomes visitors to take non‐flash, personal‐use photography except where noted. Share your images with us @UCLAalpert / #UCLAalpert on Twitter + Instagram + Facebook


Food and drink may not be carried into the theaters. Thank you!


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.