Born in Romania, Levi grew up in Israel. He studied at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music, gaining a Master of Arts degree with distinction. He continued studies at the Jerusalem Academy of Music with Mendi Rodan. He also studied with Franco Ferrara in Siena and Rome, with Kirill Kondrashin in the Netherlands, and at the Guildhall
School of Music and Drama in London.
Levi won first prize at the International Conductors Competition in Besançon, France in 1978. He spent six years with the Cleveland Orchestra as assistant conductor to Lorin Maazel. He was music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Outside of the United States, Levi was Principal Conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic. He became principal guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 2001, the first Israeli with that title. Levi served as Principal Conductor of the Orchestre National d'Île-de-France and as director and principal conductor of the KBS Symphony Orchestra in South Korea. In 2021 he was appointed chief conductor and artistic advisor of The Haifa Symphony Orchestra.
Levi has recorded over 40 records with the best orchestras in the world. In 1997, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree by Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and also gave the commencement address. In 2001, he was nominated to the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.