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Edis Levent sings a historic tune first New Yorker in Vienna Boys' Choir

12.06.09
Vienna Boys Choir
New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Lazarowitz

A Brooklyn choirboy has performed all over the globe, but it's a gig closer to home that's making him really nervous.

Edis Levent, 11, the first New Yorker in the Vienna Boys' Choir, is set to make his hometown debut today at Carnegie Hall.

"I'm actually really excited and a little nervous because my friends and my family are going to come," said Edis, who was raised in Bay Ridge.

"I'm thinking, 'What are they going to say later?'"

Edis, who moved with parents Nina and Adam Levent to Brooklyn from Germany as a baby, began studying the violin and piano at age 4.

When his sister Isabelle, 8, began voice lessons, Edis took an interest.

At his first recital, he was so shy the audience couldn't even hear him, mom Nina said.

Yet, on a whim, she asked for an audition with the boys' choir in the spring of 2008.

"I thought he would just get a little encouragement, since he hadn't sung much outside of home," she said.

After a couple of tryouts and a month at the choir's summer camp in Austria, Edis learned he'd snagged one of 100 spots in the 500-year-old chorus.

Then just 9, he was reluctant to leave family and friends for boarding school in Europe, but decided "it was going to be a good thing, because you get to travel around the world and sing."

The boys tour about three months out of the school year, often spending hours on buses when they're not in Vienna.

When the group takes the stage at Carnegie Hall, dozens of Edis' Brooklyn friends and family will be there to hear his sweet soprano in the French Christmas carol "A Maiden Most Gentle."

"He has a solo, so I'll be nervous for him," Nina said. "I hope his sister doesn't throw herself over the balcony because she's overexcited."

While the performance should be a thrill, Edis is just as excited about the day after. That's when he gets to spend time with loved ones, decorating the Christmas tree before heading back on the road until Dec. 21.

"I really can't wait to see my family," he said.