Lorin Levee, Principal Clarinet for LA Philharmonic, Passes Away at 61


Lorin Levee, Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, passed away peacefully on February 22 surrounded by friends and family. Mr. Levee, born July 8, 1950, is survived by his mother Mildred, brother Phil, son David, daughter Marissa Martinez and granddaughters Maya and Gwen Levee.

Lorin Levee joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as bass clarinet in 1976 and became Principal Clarinet at the start of the 1981/82 season. He was frequently a performer in the Philharmonic's Chamber Music concerts and with the New Music Group, where he was featured in local premieres of works by Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle, Donald Martino, and Shulamit Ran. In 1994 he presented the U.S. premiere of Jouni Kaipainen's Clarinet Concerto, Carpe diem!, under LA Philharmonic Music Director (now Conductor Laureate) Esa-Pekka Salonen. Levee was also a soloist with the orchestra: in the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto under André Previn (1989), in Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto and Bernstein's Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs for Jazz Band and Clarinet under David Alan Miller (1988), in the Mozart Clarinet Concerto under Edo de Waart (1985), and in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Winds under Carlo Maria Giulini (1984).

Prior to coming to Los Angeles, Levee was a member of Chicago's Grant Park Symphony, the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra (Principal), the Contemporary Chamber Players at the University of Chicago, and the American Ballet Theater Orchestra (Principal). He appeared as soloist with the Chicago Grant Park Symphony, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Civic Opera, and the Grant Park Symphony. During his last three years in Chicago he was on the faculty of his alma mater, De Paul University. Levee has also served as principal clarinetist for the Colorado Music Festival and the Teton Festival.

The concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday, February 23, will be dedicated to Lorin’s memory and the orchestra will perform Ravel’s “Le Jardin Féerique” from Mother Goose in his honor. His funeral will take place in Chicago; arrangements are still to be announced.

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