Pianist Laura Leon: American Music At The Piano
Laura Leon has received wide acclaim for her performances and recordings of a wide roster of American composers, including Peter Schickele, Eric Ewazen, Leo Kraft, Hugo Weisgall, William Bolcom, Steven Rosenhaus, Norman Dello Joio, Morton Gould, and Mark Isham.
Her performances include the Classical Recording Foundation's Annual Gala at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall at which Mr. Schickele received its Composer of the Year Award presented by WNYC host John Schaefer, followed by a surprise encore 4-hand performance with the composer. She produced Peter Schickele's 75th birthday concert with guest host Robert Sherman. She collaborated with violinist Colin Jacobsen for Morton Gould's Suite for Violin and Piano in honor of the composer-in attendance-at Tilles Center. She also performed the Gould with violinist Renee Jolles at the ASJM's Music in our Time.
Laura performed Hugo Weisgall's acclaimed and deeply personal Yiddish song cycle The Golden Peacock with the late soprano Judith Raskin at Queens College, and with sopranos Ena Freeman at ASJM's Music In Our Time, and Emily Duncan-Brown at the Center for Jewish History's Imagination and Catastrophe International Symposium.
Her Heifer International International Bee Day program premiered film composer Mark Isham's own arrangement of his "The Secret Life of Bees-Suite for Piano" for the event. She premiered Steven Rosenhaus' Matilda Variations at the NY Australian Consulate-General's honoring Australia, and was the pianist for The White House/Capitol Hill's first Days of Remembrance.
Laura has conceived and collaborated on several multimedia works, most recently having produced The Household Moose, featuring Peter Schickele speaking about his uniquely beautiful autobiographical solo piano work, alongside the premiere recording she did of the work and including David Schickele's charming, free-spirited drawings-originally found on the pages of the score.
She collaborated with award-winning New York photographer Barry Rosenthal for the live concert premiere of his Photobotanicus in Found in Nature: Musical Visualizing a Photographer's Compositions by composer Leo Kraft with digital animator David Tennet at Yamaha's Piano Salon; followed by Queens College's Two Places: New York and Prague, in conjunction with Czech artist Anna Matoushkova's NY exhibition Places-Homage to Leo Kraft, the Mannes School of Music, and shown at the Prague Museum of Music. Steven Rosenhaus' PRO.JECT was a 3-day live event with photographers Barry Rosenthal and Eric Jacobson, and backdrop designer Sandro LeFerla. Laura was Music Director for the Emmy-award winning documentary The Hidden Life, produced and directed by Suzy Schechtman, which aired on PBS.
Laura's recordings on Musical Tapestries include the newly released Music for a Day: 8 Play-full Pieces for Piano by Leo Kraft (2019), Morning Music: Piano Works by Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach, and the classical-to-jazz/blues collaboration Changing the Pace with Grammy-award winning saxophonist Richie Cannata, Australian bassist Nicki Parrott, Brazilian percussionist Cafe and American drummer Adam Snyder. Two recordings are soundtracks for Broken Tail Productions' films NYC Surprising Subway Story: The Hat That Never Made It To Times Square and Matilda Variations.
Laura is dedicated to maintaining a strong connection to 20th century American composers who set the compass for composition today. Deeply committed to education, she is active as a teacher. She received an Ed.D. in Music and Music Education from Columbia University's Teachers College. Her dissertation, A Study, Analysis and Performance of the Songs and Song Cycles for Voice and Piano by Hugo Weisgall is an in-depth performance analysis of the vocal works of Weisgall, considered one of America's most distinguished 20th century opera composers.