Pianist Laura Leon

Pianist Laura Leon: American Music At The Piano

lleon 14

Laura Leon has received wide acclaim for her performances and recordings of a wide roster of American composers, including Peter Schickele, Eric Ewazen, Hugo Weisgall, Leo Kraft, William Bolcom, Vincent Persichetti, Steven Rosenhaus, Richard Hundley, Lee Hoiby, Norman Dello Joio, Morton Gould, Sting, Astor Piazzolla, Mark Isham and Billy Joel.

Prior to the April 2014 CD release of Morning Music: Piano Works by Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach (described by Oscar-winning film and supervising sound editor, re-recording mix and designer Skip Lievsay as "lovely, clear and untethered music"), Laura performed selected works at the Classical Recording Foundation's 12th Annual Gala at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall in honor of Mr. Schickele receiving CRF's Composer of the Year award.

John Schaefer, WNYC Host of Soundcheck and New Sounds presented the award, followed by a surprise performance by Mr. Schickele and Laura Leon of the composer's one-piano four-hands "Little Suite for Summer."

Other performances include Peter Schickele's 75th Birthday Concert at Steinway Hall, produced by Laura , featuring a roster of noted NY musicians with guest host Robert Sherman; selections from Morton Gould's Suite for Violin and Piano with violinist Colin Jacobsen, honoring the composer-present for the occasion-at Tilles Center; Hugo Weisgall's "The Golden Peacock"--with both soprano Ena Freeman for the ASJM's Music In Our Time: 2014 and with Emily Duncan-Brown at the Center for Jewish History's Imagination and Catastrophe International Symposium; Heifer's International Bee Day premiering film composer Mark Isham's "The Secret LIfe of Bees-Suite for Piano" arranged by him specially for the event; the New York Australian Consulate-General's world premiere of Steven Rosenhaus' "Matilda Variations" honoring Australia, and the White House/Capitol Hill's first Days of Remembrance.

Laura has conceived and collaborated on live multimedia works, two with award-winning New York photographer Barry Rosenthal. His "Found in Nature" series was featured in The New York Times on June 22, 2014 and in 2008, the live performance work entitled Found in Nature: Music Visualizing a Photographer's Compositions was premiered at Yamaha's Piano Salon, a collaboration with Barry and the late, distinguished American composer Leo Kraft.

Barry's Photobotanicus was digitally animated by David Tennet alongside Laura's live solo performance of Kraft's Found in Nature. Performances following the premiere included Mannes College The New School for Music, Queens College's Two Places: New York and Prague, in conjunction with Czech artist Anna Matoushkova's New York City exhibition Places-Homage to Leo Kraft, and the Prague Museum of Music.

PRO.JECT, composed by Steven Rosenhaus, featured images by photographers Barry Rosenthal and Eric Jacobson and backdrop design by Sandro LeFerla. It was performed as a 3-day performance event at the Jacobson-Rosenthal Studio. Laura was the Music Director for the Emmy-award winning documentary The Hidden LIfe, which aired on PBS.

Laura's CDs, all on the Musical Tapestries label, include Morning Music, Changing the Pace, her classical-to-jazz/blues collaboration with Grammy-award winning saxophonist Richie Cannata, internationally acclaimed pop and jazz musicians-bassist Nicki Parrott, Brazilian percussionist Cafe and drummer Adam Snyder; Preludes to Passion-short piano works by Schickele, Ewazen, Copland, Sting, J.S. Bach, Bartok and more; and the celebrated Blessings of Beauty: Classic Judaic Gems with flutist Amy Ziegelbaum.

Karen Leon's Broken Tail Productions feature several of Laura's recorded performances in its film soundtracks: Matilda Variations, Steven Rosenhaus' piano work of the same name, alongside paintings by the noted Australian artist Ian Banksmith; and NYC Surprising Subway Story: The Hat That Never Made It To Times Square with Rosenhaus' cool "Samba" from PRO.JECT.

She is dedicated to maintaining a strong connection to the 20th century American composers who set the foundation for music composition and thought today-through performance and education. Deeply committed to this generation of young musicians, she is active as a teacher. Laura received an Ed.D. in Music and Music Education from Columbia University's Teachers College. Her dissertation was a stylsitic and and interpretive analysis of Hugo Weisgall's songs and song cycles for voice and piano-heralding the vocal works of one of America's most distinguished 20th century opera composers.

updated: 8 months ago