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Soraya Stories

Remembering Liz Levitt Hirsch

By Thor Steingraber

Giving tirelessly of time, fortune, and irrepressible enthusiasm, frequently opening up her home, and constantly turning up in theaters and concert venues locally and nationally – Liz Levitt Hirsch possessed a spirit unmatched. The Soraya joins the broader arts community in mourning the loss of a friend, booster, host, and generous supporter.

A native New Yorker, Liz called Los Angeles home for most of her life, but her impact reached to the far corners of the United States. Her passion project, known as Levitt Pavilions, presents free outdoor summer concerts in parks and resuscitated bandshells in communities that would otherwise be without a music venue, from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Liz dedicated herself to this extraordinary undertaking year-round, but on summer evenings, she could often be found hosting large parties on the lawn at MacArthur Park, home to Los Angeles’ own Levitt Pavilion.

In 2018, the Liberty Hill Foundation honored Liz with a lifetime achievement award alongside Congressman John Lewis. The civil rights leader was a legendary orator, but on that particular occasion, he met his match in a passionate Liz Levitt Hirsch who captivated a packed Beverly Hills Hilton Ballroom with her remarks about the power of music and performing arts in community-building.

Liz also threw one of L.A.’s most beloved holiday parties, emptying her house of all furniture to make room for the live band, the cocktail bar, and tables upon tables of elegant guests.

While her philanthropy could have named large edifices, instead she chose to direct her support to artists and audiences themselves, for Liz’s foremost passion was people. She relished creating and being a part of a community.

A loss so enormous will not be mended easily. Indeed, Liz’s absence will be bitterly felt for many Opening Nights and seasons to come.


The Life and Legacy of Elizabeth Levitt Hirsch

Elizabeth “Liz” Levitt Hirsch, a champion of the arts, community, and social justice, passed away from ovarian cancer on Sunday, May 26, 2024 at her home in Los Angeles, surrounded by loved ones. She was 72. Known for her gift to connect and inspire people to achieve a shared vision, Liz channeled her life-long passion for the performing arts into a source for positive social change in towns and cities across America.

As a philanthropist over the past four decades, Liz supported a range of cultural, arts and social justice nonprofits, including as a board member of her family’s foundation, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. A national creative placemaking funder at the intersection of music, public space, and community building, Liz served as Board President of the Levitt Foundation for a decade. Click here to continue reading this message from the Levitt Foundation.

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