Pianist, Composer Douglas Levine Offers Master Class at Obama


Douglas Levine works with sophomore Michael Eddy Harvey

Sam Bisno, Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday, local pianist, composer, musical director, and teacher Douglas Levine visited Obama for a live master class on singing. Brave sophomores Michael Eddy Harvey and Aubree Peterson-Spanard each got up in front of those in attendance, numbering around 50, and sung a short piece with Mr. Levine accompanying on the piano. Silas Maxwell Switzer was also slated to play the guitar, but unfortunately could not make it.

Prior to the demonstration, Mr. Levine sat and chatted with the two performers, asking them about their interests, their classes, and their goals. Michael, who wields both the piano and clarinet in addition to his voice, ended up receiving a completely impromptu intensive drill session on a Mozart opus he had been working on, interrupted only when members of the began to trickle in.

It was Michael who sang first – “My Girl” by The Temptations. Mr. Levine then had him try out a few exercises to improve his inflection and add subtext to the lyrics. Next, Aubree rendered her version of “Diary” by Bread and was subsequently coached on her enunciation and articulation.

Despite a brief intermission due to an uninvited fire drill, the event went off smoothly, and each of the singers expressed their gratitude. Said Michael, rather simply, “It was an unforgettable experience.” Aubree, for her part, found the master class “helpful and eye-opening” and appreciated “advice from a true professional.”

Mr. Levine is currently arranging for Up and Away, which runs at the CLO Cabaret, located in Pittsburgh’s own Downtown.