Classical Music

Vienna Boys' Choir: Guarantee You Weren't This Productive When You Were 13 Years Old

He's only 13, but Edis Levent is basically a rock star in classical music.

Raised in New York City, Edis is the only American soloist in the Vienna Boys' Choir, known as one of the best singing ensembles in the world. He's been with the group, which features close to 100 choristers (most of them Austrian), since he was nine years old, living in Austria and attending the Vienna Boys' Choir boarding school.

When he's not rehearsing music for two hours a day as part of his curriculum, Edis and his singing mates are traveling for three months of the year, presenting concerts all over Europe, Latin America and the States.

Edis also sings opera, playing the lead in a production that takes place in the Middle Ages; knocking out 18 performances of Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Volksoper; and in realizations of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major, Arthur Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher and Bach's totally demanding Christmas Oratorio.

He's only 13.

"He's definitely doing a lot," explains mom Dr. Nina Levent -- who is the executive director of Art Beyond Sight and Art Beyond Sight Museum Education Institute in New York -- when asked if she thinks Edis is doing too much for a kid his age.

"I think he's testing his musical, mental and emotional limitations. I don't think it's too much. I think he became aware of how far he can go, which he would have never known until he actually tried," says Nina, who only gets to see her son every six weeks or so. "One regret that I have is that he's done some brilliant things and I haven't seen them."

Mom isn't sure what Edis, who is currently on his way to the Houston area to perform at First Presbyterian Church in Kingwood with the Vienna Boys' Choir, wants to do when it's time to apply to college.

She does say that he's an avid hiker and lover of nature who volunteered at the Piro Biological Research Station in Costa Rica. Additionally, he studies Latin just for the heck of it and is into biology, chemistry, and Roman and Greek history at the boarding school.

Fifteen years old, people.

The Vienna Boys Choir will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 5520 Kingwood Drive in Kingwood. For more information, check out the First Presbyterian Church website.

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen