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About Us


Gary Giddins
Executive Director

Gary Giddins wrote the "Weather Bird" jazz column in the Village Voice for 30 years, and served as artistic director of the American Jazz Orchestra, 1986-92. He is Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the Graduate Center, where he also teaches. His recent essays on music and film have appeared in The New Yorker, the DGA Quarterly, Vintage, and other publications. He is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Jazz Journalists Association Lifetime Achievement Award, a Guggenheim, a Peabody, Grammy, two Ralph J. Gleason Music Book awards, and six ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for Excellence in Music Criticism. He has written and/or directed three documentary films and appeared in many others. His books include Riding on a Blue NoteRhythm-a-NingFaces in the CrowdSatchmoVisions of JazzBing Crosby: A Pocketful of DreamsWeather BirdNatural SelectionJazz (with Scott DeVeaux) and Warning Shadows: Home Alone with Classic Cinema. The textbook edition of Jazz is used at universities across the country. His most recent book is a revised edition of Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker, published October 2013 by the University of Minnesota Press.
Website: Gary Giddins

Michael Gately
Program Director

Michael Gately studied philosophy and politics at Princeton University, and is a former nonfiction fellow of the Writers' Institute at the Graduate Center. He has worked as a research assistant at the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations; as an English and history teacher, debate coach, and student publications advisor at the Collegiate School; and as a ghost writer to the founding partner of a large New York law firm. He is an avid cyclist.

Advisory Board

Blake Bailey
Robert A. Caro
Benita Eisler
Hermione Lee
David Levering Lewis
Nancy Milford
David Nasaw
Jay Parini
Stacy Schiff
Elisabeth Sifton
Ileene Smith
Annalyn Swan
Amanda Vaill
Simon Winchester
Brenda Wineapple

The Leon Levy Foundation

Leon Levy had a passion for expanding knowledge and believed in the power of ideas and a just and equitable society. This broad humanism also defined his philanthropy.

The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from his Estate. The Foundation endeavors to continue Leon Levy's philanthropic legacy and to build on his vision, encouraging and supporting excellence in six broad areas: Understanding the Ancient World; Arts and Humanities; Preservation of Nature and Gardens; Brain Research and Science; Human Rights; and Jewish Culture.