John Leavitt is a composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher, whose music continues to captivate listeners and musicians of all ages. He received his undergraduate degree (music education) from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, a master’s degree (piano & composition) from Wichita State University, and the Doctorate of Musical Arts (conducting) from The Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Leavitt is a lifetime member of the American Choral Directors Association and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, from which he has received annual recognition for his achievements in composition.
In recognition of his tenure at Friends University in the fields of music theory, choral, and church music, Dr. Leavitt was the recipient of the W.A. Young Award for teaching excellence. He also served on the faculty of MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS as professor of music and director of choral activities. While at MNU he was honored with the MidAmerica Nazarene University Presidential Award: Faculty Member of the Year for 2011, which is voted on by his peers. Additional faculty positions have been at Newman University in Wichita, KS; Concordia College, Edmonton, Alberta (Canada); and Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois.
While in Wichita, Kansas, he held the post of music director at Immanuel Lutheran Church. At the same time, he conducted the community choral program, The Master Arts Chorale and Youth Chorale, during their twelve-year tenure. In March of 2003, he received the Kansas Artist Fellowship Award from the Kansas Arts Commission for his contribution to music composition.
In 2010, Dr. Leavitt was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Art’s “American Masterpieces,” to write a new choral work in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the State of Kansas. His music has been performed in 30 countries across the globe and his recordings have been featured nationally on many public radio stations.
An extraordinary composer, performer, and clinician for church and school music literature, Leavitt continues to teach, lecture, and guest conduct numerous workshops, festivals, and symposia. He serves as a regular guest conductor in major venues throughout the United States including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He has served as artistic director for the National Capitol Choral Festival in Washington DC and the Chicago Sings Choral Festival. His compositions are represented in nearly every major music catalog in this country.
In 2012, Dr. Leavitt was honored with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music Alumni of the Year.