Pianist Laura Leon

Pianist Laura Leon: American Music At The Piano

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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/sound editor and designer Skip Lievsay as "lovely, clear and untethered music"--Laura performed 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 Peter Schickele the award, followed by a surprise four-hand performance by composer and pianist of his "Little Suite for Summer."

Her performances include producing Peter Schickele's 75th Birthday Concert at Steinway Hall, featuring noted NY musicians and guest host Robert Sherman; Morton Gould's Suite for Violin and Piano with violinist Colin Jacobsen, honoring the composer-in attendance-at New York's Tilles Center and with the ASJM's Music in our Time with Renee Jolles; Hugo Weisgall's deeply personal and brilliant Yiddish song cycle "The Golden Peacock"--with the late renowned soprano Judith Raskin at Queens College's Nota Bene, with 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.

Her solo program for Heifer's International Bee Day included the premiere of film composer Mark Isham's "The Secret LIfe of Bees-Suite for Piano" arranged personally 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 performance multimedia works, two with award-winning New York photographer Barry Rosenthal. His "Found in Nature" Photobotanicus series, featured in The New York Times on June 22, 2014, premiered in special collaboration with the late, distinguished composer Leo Kraft and digital animator David Tennet in Found in Nature: Music Visualizing a Photographer's Compositions in 2008 at Yamaha's Piano Salon. Barry's work was digitally animated by David Tennet.

Performances also included Mannes College of Music/The New School, Queens College's Two Places: New York and Prague, in conjunction with Czech artist Anna Matoushkova's NYC 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, was performed at a 3-day live event at the Jacobson-Rosenthal Studio. Laura was Music Director for the Emmy-award winning documentary The Hidden Life, which aired on PBS.

Laura's CDs, on the Musical Tapestries label, include Morning Music, Changing the Pace, a classical-to-jazz/blues collaboration with Grammy-award winning saxophonist Richie Cannata, bassist Nicki Parrott, Brazilian percussionist Cafe and drummer Adam Snyder; Preludes to Passion-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.

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

Laura is dedicated to maintaining a strong connection to 20th century American composers who set the foundation for composition today. Deeply committed to this generation of young musicians, she is active as a teacher. She received an Ed.D. in Music and Music Education from Columbia University's Teachers College. Her 1982 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 and discussion of the vocal works composed by one of America's most distinguished 20th century opera composers.

updated: 1 year ago