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Subject: Julius Levine, 81, Bassist and Chamber Music Coach

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Date Posted: April 06, 2003 7:14:11 EDT

Julius Levine, whose performances on the double bass provided a solid underpinning to several classic recordings of Schubert's "Trout" Quintet, and who was renowned as a teacher and chamber music coach, died on Friday at Amsterdam House, a health-care residence in Manhattan. He was 81.

For decades, starting in the late 1940's, Mr. Levine was an important presence in the chamber music life of New York City and was frequently heard as a guest of string quartets when they played works that require a bassist. Among the groups he performed with were the Amadeus, Budapest, Guarneri and Juilliard Quartets. He was closely associated with the Marlboro Festival, in Vermont, and with the Music From Marlboro national tours. He played and taught at Marlboro for 24 summers and at Tanglewood for 15 summers.

Mr. Levine was born in Brooklyn in 1921. He received a bachelor's degree in music from Brooklyn College in 1943, and after Army service during World War II, he continued his studies at the Juilliard School, where he earned a second bachelor's degree in 1947. In addition to performing, he began teaching in 1949 at the Greenwich House Music School. He later joined the faculty at the Mannes College of Music, the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

One of his interests was studying how musicians could use their bodies to help project the emotional content of pieces. He said he was inspired to explore this field by Pablo Casals, with whom he performed at the Casals Festivals in France and Puerto Rico for more than 20 years.

Early in his career Mr. Levine was also a composer. His most successful work was a children's opera, "The Golden Medal," which had a libretto by his brother, Max.

Mr. Levine contributed to several important recordings, including an account of Stravinsky's "Histoire du Soldat" conducted by the composer and another led by Leopold Stokowski, and Copland's own recording of the chamber version of his "Appalachian Spring." He recorded the "Trout" Quintet five times.

Mr. Levine is survived by his wife, Caroline, of Manhattan, and two daughters, Dena, of Manhattan, and Amy Levine Tsang of Austin, Tex.

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