Steve Lebetkin is an American composer and musical descendant of the late Jewish composer Karol Rathaus, a leading early 20th century film and classical composer that emigrated to America during the Third Reich.
Rathaus, a student of Franz Schreker, was a major influence on the three major American composers with whom Lebetkin studied – Gabriel Fontrier, Sol Berkowitz, and Leo Kraft. He also studied composition with Hugo Weisgal.
Among his recently completed works are Variations For Orchestra, Cycle of the Earth (ballet for symphony orchestra on the earth’s environmental life cycle),Symphonic Songs – Six Songs On Poems By Walt Whitman, Piano Concerto (The “Classical”), Concerto for Soprano Saxophone, Vibraphone and String Orchestra, Elegy For Double (or divided) String Orchestra, Piano Sonata, Libera Me – Fanfare for Freedom for Symphony Orchestra, Piano Sonata, Symphony for Band, and Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.
Lebetkin’s Violin Concerto, a broad and expansive work similar in scope to the Barber concerto had its very successful world premiere on October 7, 2017 at Carnegie Hall, Momo Wong as soloist. Amy Andersson conducted Orchestra Moderne – NYC.
Lebetkin’s Piano Concerto had its premiere in 2018 with the Falcon Symphony (Coro, Venezuela) under the baton of Ruben Capriles. Several performances are being planned in Europe in 2019. Other works in the programming stages throughout the world include his Six Preludes and Fugues for Solo Piano, a version for concert band, Bagatelles for Solo Piano, art songs, Libera Me – Fanfare for Freedom with the Clemson Symphony Orchestra, a full production of Cycle of the Earth (ballet), Three Sunsets for a capella choir with the Hillsdale Chamber Choir, and numerous large scale commissions over the next two years.
Lebetkin also focuses on social justice pieces, including Parkland Choral Symphony in honor of those we lost at the Parkland School and others. This work is similar in scope to the Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms but of modest difficulty.