Levi Graves Jr. began his formal music training as a member of the DC Youth Orchestra Program. During his time in the program he was selected to participate in several high-profile concerts throughout the United States and abroad to include tours of Russia and South Korea. The valuable training received in the program prepared Levi for acceptance into the Duke Ellington High School for the Arts. The mentorship and training received at the
Ellington School further nurtured and developed his love for Classical and Jazz music. Levi was fortunate to perform with great musicians like jazz pianist John Malachi who was a member of the Billy Eckstine Bebop Orchestra and jazz pianist Billy Taylor who performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, and, Art Tatum and later served as the artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. During his senior year Levi was selected to participate in the National Symphony Youth Fellowship Program where he experienced superb individual training and numerous opportunities to attend rehearsals, master classes and perform with members of the National Symphony Orchestra. The fellowship was an enriching experience that provided essential skills and knowledge to pursue a 21st century career in music.
Levi is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music where he studied percussion with Arthur Press and Neil Grover members of the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops Orchestra, while a student in Boston Levi performed in the Boston Conservatory Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and the Musical Theatre Pit Orchestra. Levi also participated in several percussion demonstrations as part of the Boston Symphony’s education program, under the direction of Patricia Krol, Coordinator of Youth Activities and Education Programs at the Boston Symphony.
Levi continued his jazz studies at the University of the District of Columbia upon graduation from the Boston Conservatory. Levi performed in the Small Jazz Combo, and Big Band Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Calvin Jones, former musical director of the great Ray Charles.
Levi was a member of the U.S. Army Band for over twenty years. During his service he has toured extensively around the United States with the Concert Band, Jazz Band, Rock Band and Show Band performing with world class musicians like Wycliff Gordon member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet as well as performing for high-profile dignitaries to include the former president Jimmy Carter. Levi has also organized several joint educational concerts with local high schools and universities to promote healthy military-community relations.
Currently, Levi is a member of the International Percussive Arts Society and performs and teaches throughout the Atlanta Metropolitan area. He has performed in various local events including the annual Atlanta Jazz Festival and performs weekly as a member of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta Worship Orchestra. The musical organization supports the ministries of Dr. Charles Stanley and is televised all over the world.
"A great teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart" Anna Phan