Levine made his debut in 1953 with the Cincinnati Orchestra in Ohio. He studied piano with the famed teacher Rosina Lhévinne, and from 1961 to 1964 he was a conducting student of Jean Morel at the Juilliard School in New York City. Levine embarked upon his conducting career in 1965 when George Szell invited him to become the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he remained until 1970. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1971 with Giacomo Puccini's Tosca, then became the company's principal conductor in 1973, its musical director in 1975, and its first artistic director in 1986 (a position he resigned in 2004). In his position as conductor and director of the Metropolitan Opera, Levine improved the artistic standards of the company and led the orchestra on numerous domestic and international tours. He formed the Met Chamber Ensemble in 1998, performing ambitious programs, including the 2006 premiere of Elliott Carter's In the Distances of Sleep, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. In 1996 Levine conducted an extensive world tour with "The Three Tenors" (José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti), and in 1999 he was named chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. In 2004 he left that position to become music director of the Boston Symphony. His recordings earned eight Grammy Awards in the years 1982 through 1991. In 2010 he was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.