Adam, a classical guitarist originally from Chicago, is now proud to call Boston his home. How does this vibrant city inspire him? Learn more by reading his interview.
“It’s a vibrant city with so much to offer and I’m proud to call it home.”
Can you tell me about your background?
I’m a classical guitarist from a suburb north of Chicago and I grew up in a family of four. My mom is a stock broker, my dad is a psychologist, and my sister is a resident Dermatologist. I started playing the piano at age 5 and the guitar at age 7. My dad was my first teacher, however, I did receive formal training throughout my youth. My pops used to get me up in the morning at 5 AM to study the guitar, which for a kid was quite strenuous, but engendered a sense of mastery and discipline. I completed two undergraduate degrees in psychology, classical guitar performance and pre-medical studies at Northwestern University. After realizing that life without music and the guitar was impossible, I decided against medicine and instead went to New England Conservatory of Music to complete a master’s degree in guitar performance with my guitar hero growing up, Eliot Fisk. He was instrumental in broadening my horizons, inspiring me into action, and helping me to create a personal voice.
Can you share an unforgettable story happened during your life in Boston?
On October 5th, 2015, together with co-founders of Kithara Project (www.kitharaproject.org), Scott Borg and Matthew Rohde, we launched StartNow sustainable guitar program at the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center. Kithara Project is dedicated to bringing the magic of the guitar to areas that don’t have access to music and music education. Kithara Project alongside Altamira Guitarras, D’Addario Foundation, Hill Guitar Company, Inc, launched a program that delivers guitars, music, and a first class music education. In addition to giving young people the opportunity to play the guitar, we want them to experience live music, so we fund community performances and other opportunities for them hear live music in Boston.
When and why did you start playing guitar? Any story behind it?
My dad started playing the guitar because of the Beatles. He was playing violin when they first came out, and immediately threw his violin away and took up the guitar. My dad gave me a classical guitar and that was that. I didn’t know any different. At times, I thought it was a chore to practice, but as I matured and got older, I realized the majesty of this instrument.
What does music mean to you?
Music is a means of connecting with people non-verbally. It is a world of fantasy, possibility, a bridge to other cultures, a means of travel without having to leave you a seat, and a means of transforming, uniting, empowering all at once.
Who/what was inspired you to become the person you are today?
I have a list of wonderful people who have molded me into the man I am today. They include first and foremost, my mom, my dad, my sister; my academic tutor, Mrs. Homer; my karate teacher Frank Chrzanowski, my guitar teachers Anne Waller, Eliot Fisk, Oscar Ghiglia; my close colleagues Eduardo Morales-Caso; and without a doubt, my close friends.
Do you have any story funny, touching, or important to you that you would like to share with us?
As one may know, classical guitarists have to manicure their right-hand nails. It’s quite an ordeal, especially if you have to use acrylic, nail glue and about 10,000 different buffing papers. One year ago the day after Halloween, I was in Whole Foods getting fish from the fish monger. As he was wrapping up the fish, he said to me, “did you forget to take off your Halloween costume?” I quickly looked down in shock wondering if I had somehow forgotten to take my costume off from the night before. Looking confused, he pointed at my hands, referring to my long nails on my right hand. I blushed, looked at him, smiled and said, nope, I’m just a classical guitarist.
What are your passions in life?
I’m in love with music, but getting to know me more, you will quickly realize I am obsessed with food. I’m a frugal guy, but when food comes into the mix, all that frugality goes out the door! Sushi, Mexican food, Pizza, Italian food, you name it, I love it. Just don’t serve me tripe. Yuck!
What does Boston mean to you?
Boston represents a place of work, a place to relax, a place to have fun, a place to be creative, a place to explore, a place to eat, and a place to become a better person. I have lived in Boston, on and off from 2006 until now. I spent three years as Fulbright Scholars in Madrid, Spain, researching modern Spanish guitar music. In the back of my mind, I knew that I would return to Boston. It’s a vibrant city with so much to offer and I’m proud to call it home. Chicagoans, please don’t be upset with me. I still love deep-dish pizza.
Learn more about Adam: http://www.adamlevinguitar.com/