Nancy Marsh Levine
Violist Nancy Levine grew up in Mishawaka, Indiana where she began her musical career learning to play the violin. She earned a BA degree from Ball State University. Half way through her undergraduate studies Nancy switched from the violin to the viola and finished her degree as a violist. Nancy went on to earn a Master's degree from Rice University in Houston, following her brother, who is also a musician. After graduating, Nancy played for one season with the Savannah Symphony in Georgia. In 1981 she joined the Charlotte Symphony and has made Charlotte her home since then. Her favorite composers are Mahler and Prokofiev and is always happy to play their music. In her leisure time, Nancy enjoys reading, gardening, going to the movies and, of course, spending time with her husband, Eric and children Rachael and Ethan.
Hometown: Mishawaka, Indiana (also hometown of Adam Driver, the latest Star Wars villain!)
First season with the Charlotte Symphony: 1981-82
Why did you select your instrument?
Sometimes fate intervenes in curious ways. I played violin until half way through college. I was in the dean's office trying to change violin teachers, and he was giving me the "Who do you think you are young lady?!" routine. I got so mad I said I was switching to viola and stormed out! I'm walking down the hall thinking, "OMG what have I done?!!!" But I soon discovered that it was the right instrument for me all along and I felt so much more at home on it.
Does your instrument have a special story?
Violas are not a uniform size, and viola students are usually encouraged to play the largest one they can handle. After playing professionally for a number of years I realized how crazy that is. I was thrilled when I heard about a viola maker who specializes in small instruments with a big sound. My colleague Ellen Ferdon has an instrument by the same maker.
What would most surprise people about you?
Two seasons ago, my left hand was in so much pain I thought my career was over. I had a tendon transplant into my hand where all the cartilage had completely worn away. After 6 months off work, and lots of physical therapy, it is as good as new!
If you could meet one composer, who would it be and what would you ask him/her?
Beethoven. I would love to understand how he heard everything perfectly in his head without being able to hear.
What’s your funniest/most compelling on-stage moment?
My funniest moment on stage was when I was 12. I had won a solo competition and clumped out there to perform with a full length cast on my leg. My most compelling moment is definitely when we performed with the Warsaw Symphony outdoors for thousands of people.
Other than your instrument, what would we find in your instrument case?
In my case, you would find pictures of my wedding, kids, and furry kids.
What do you love most about being a professional musician?
The best thing about being a professional musician is getting to work with such amazingly talented colleagues.