John Leavitt Biography

John Leavitt pictureJohn Leavitt, born 1956 in Leavenworth, Kansas

John Leavitt is a composer, conductor, teacher, and church musician, whose music continues to captivate listeners and musicians of all ages. He received his undergraduate education at Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, a masterís degree from Wichita State University, and the Doctorate of Musical Arts 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.

Currently, Dr. Leavitt serves on the faculty of MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS as professor of music and director of choirs. He has also served on the faculties of Friends University in Wichita where he was the recipient of the W.A. Young Award for teaching excellence, 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. He also conducted the community choral program, The Master Arts Chorale and Youth Chorale, during their twelve-year tenure. In 2010, Dr. Leavitt was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Artsís American Masterpieces which partnered with the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Music Educators Association. He was commissioned by them to write a new choral work in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the State of Kansas. In March of 2003, he received the Kansas Artist Fellowship Award from the Kansas Arts Commission for his contribution to music composition. His music has been performed in 30 countries across the globe and his recordings have been featured nationally on many public radio stations.

MNU Choral Pops Charlie Brown April 2011 MNU Choral Pops Big River April 2011
Having fun at the Choral Pops Concert with the MidAmerica Nazarene University Choirs, April 29, 2011

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 continues to serve as a regular guest conductor in major venues throughout the United States.

Information about Dr. Leavittís music is available on the worldwide web at

Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus March 12, 2011 Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus March 13, 2011
John in rehearsal with the Carnegie Hall Masterworks Festival Chorus, New York, March 12-13, 2011

His compositions are represented in nearly every major music catalog, including Alfred, Augsburg Fortress, Concordia, Hal Leonard, Morningstar, GIA, Hope, Shawnee Press, and Warner Brothers. He has numerous publications for choir, piano, organ, hand bells, and string orchestra and is co-author of the widely used choral music method textbook series Essential Elements for Choir.

Choral Masterworks, Nov. 7, 2010 Christmas Celebration, Dec. 5, 2010
In performance with the MidAmerica Nazarene University Choirs:
Choral Masterworks, Nov. 7, 2010 and Christmas Celebration, Dec. 5, 2010

His discography includes "A Sonic Spectacular," organ; "A Little Night Music," piano; "Requiem," choral; "What Child is This," choral; "Silent Night, Wondrous Light," piano; "Jubilee," choral; “On Christmas Night,” orchestra & piano; and “The Beautiful Treasure,” orchestra & piano.

Virginia Wesleyan University's Festival Choir Christmas Celebration, Dec. 5, 2010
John conducts the Phoenix Area Methodist Festival Choir & Orchestra,
First United Methodist Church, Mesa, AZ, November 22, 2008

For guest appearances, Dr. Leavitt may be contacted here.

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