Portrait of an Artist

The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.

— Roy Ayers
 Judy Levine-Holley, Violinist, San Antonio Symphony

Judy Levine-Holley, Violinist, San Antonio Symphony


I love highlighting people who are doing amazing things and who have a story to tell.  

What a special lady I recently got the privilege of working with.  There are a few things I learned from Judy Levine-Holley after speaking with her:


  1. She loves her family above all else. 
  2. Jewish music is her passion, she grew to love it from a very young age.
  3. She is still very close with her violin teacher and his family and his teachings still resonate with her today.



 Judy has not only been a  member of the San Antonio symphony for 36 years, she has also successfully arranged and published a collection of Jewish Wedding Music for string quartet that is available for purchase.

“As time went by, I created my own arrangements of Jewish wedding music for string quartet that expressed who I am and what I felt inside my ‘neshama’ (soul).” – Judy Levine-Holley

When I asked what inspired her to start writing music, this is what Judy had to say:

“When I was growing up, Jewish music was a big part of my home life.  The long tradition of Jewish music  and the cultures that inspired it became part of my soul and made me who and what I am.  I became known as a Jewish wedding “guru”.  As time went by, I created my own arrangements of Jewish wedding music for string quartet that expressed who I am and what I felt inside my “neshama” (soul).”   


In our conversation over her influences, one person stood out to me, a man who has been in Judy’s life since she was 12.

  – Tiberius Klausner has been a force since he  joined the Kansas City Philharmonic in 1955 as the youngest concertmaster to lead a major symphony orchestra. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in violin performance under “Tibor” at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) – Conservatory of Music, she left to study for her master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).  After a year, she returned to UMKC to complete her master’s degree with the teacher she loved and the teachings she enjoyed so much.



One of Judy’s favorite quotes from Mr. Klausner that still resonates with her today is,

“Scales are the vegetables of life, everything else is dessert.”  

I loved this when I heard it from her because being a musician myself, I know the importance of practicing scales, though I had never heard it put quite this way before!

This is one of the many teachings Judy got from her mentor and teacher, a man who was known to practice 10 hours per day.


I have always thought musicians are such amazing people.  They practice their craft and work as hard as doctors and lawyers, yet they get paid a fraction of what they do.  You really have to love music that much in order to put in hours per day and keep up an art form that takes so much precision.  I place musicians right up there with teachers.

She has always considered her teacher and his family an extended part of her family, they are close to this day.

 Portrait of an Artist, Judy Levine-Holley

Portrait of an Artist, Judy Levine-Holley

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  1. Judy Levine-Holley says:

    Thank you so much for your amazing work, Melissa!

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