Howard Levy

2-time Grammy award-winning pianist, diatonic harmonica player, composer

Howard Levy, two- time Grammy Award Winner (Pop Music Performance and Instrumental Composition) is an acknowledged master of the diatonic harmonica, a superb pianist, innovative composer, educator and producer. At the age of 19, he discovered how to play the diatonic harmonica as a fully chromatic instrument by developing techniques on it that had never existed before. This enabled Howard to take the harmonica out of its usual role as a Folk and Blues instrument, and into the worlds of Jazz, Classical, Middle Eastern music, and more. His discovery unlocked infinite possibilities for the harmonica world.

At home in many musical styles, he is a favorite with audiences worldwide and a recording artist sought after by Kenny Loggins, Dolly Parton, Paquito D’Rivera, Styx, Donald Fagen, Paul Simon, and many others. Howard has appeared on hundreds of CD’s and several movie soundtracks, most prominently on A Family Thing with Robert Duval and James Earl Jones. 

His solo album Alone and Together (Balkan Samba Records) and his trio album Tonight and Tomorrow (Chicago Sessions) both received 4-star reviews in DownBeat. Howard also put out a classical CD featuring his Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra- the first true concerto composed for the instrument. 

As an educator, Howard has taught at leading universities and conservatories, and online for TrueFire/ArtistWorks. His revolutionary technique book “Rhythms of the Breath” is the first of its kind to apply drum rudiments to the harmonica, influencing players around the world.

Howard tours as a solo artist, with Trio Globo, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and his new band, The Howard Levy 4.

What People Say...

… single-handedly developed the full jazz potential of the diatonic harmonica… Although he cites McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock as influences, Levy the pianist has a sunnier, more ebullient style than either, enlivened by an unfailing upward momentum...”

— Jazz Times Magazine

Levy has single-handedly revolutionized the harmonica...”


As Art Tatum was to the piano, so is Levy to the harmonica: a hyper-virtuoso whose feats can be admired and studied but never really replicated.”

— Chicago Tribune

full bio

Early Years

Career in Chicago

The Flecktones, Touring, Recordings, etc.

Appearances with Symphony Orchestras, Radio, and TV