James Levy

Photo of James Levy

James Levy

Adjunct Professor Emeritus, Music Program



Adjunct Professor Emeritus James Levy is a jazz pianist, composer and educator. A D.C. native, he has played in area jazz clubs since the 1980s, for various cruise ship lines, and been heard nationally on NPR’s Jazzset. He has taught at the George Washington University since 1984. He founded the jazz program, created jazz curriculum and directed the jazz band, King James and the Serfs of Swing.  For the last decade he has also taught music in the District of Columbia Public Schools, where as an Arts Curriculum Fellow he created and implemented a body of materials for teaching class piano.

His over 30-year career as an organist/choir director was inaugurated at age 19 at the First Baptist Church of Cambridge, Massachusetts and he has composed extensively for choir. His Passion Oratorio was premiered in 2012 featuring tenor, Thomas Young. In 2011, the DC Theater Guide awarded his sci-fi rock opera, “When ET Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” 5/5 stars writing, “James Levy has created a bath of aural joy...” 

James Levy has recorded with vocalist Sharon Clark, the jazz fusion band STICKMAN and has performed live with Andrew White, Cleo Laine/Johnny Dankworth, Jon Hendricks, Davey Yarborough and with the GW orchestra as the piano soloist for Duke Ellington’s “New World a-Comin’.” He holds an M.M. from the University of Maryland and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

M.M., University of Maryland