Pianist Laura Leon: American Music At The Piano
Her performances include solo piano works by Peter Schickele at the Classical Recording Foundation's 2013 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 four-hand performance with the composer. In 2011 she produced and performed in Mr. Schickele's 75th birthday concert at Steinway Hall, hosted by renowned WQXR radio host Robert Sherman, featuring a roster of leading young instrumentalists.
The 2020 solo piano work Masha's Arigato: A Piano Tribute to Sugihara and Japan, which Laura recorded, received its live premiere performance on November 3, 2020 by pianist Ms. Nobue Doda (on behalf of Laura and her family) at the Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum--which honors the heroic WWII Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara--in Tsuruga, Japan during its reopening ceremony. The recording of Masha's Arigato received its broadcast premiere on December 8, 2020 during the Embassy of Japan in Canada's opening online ceremony for its webinar event 'Visas for Life' and the Bond of Humanity honoring Chiune Sugihara.
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-and also performed it with violinist Renee Jolles at the American Society for Jewish Music's Music In Our Time.
Her program to help support Heifer International's International Bee Day included film composer Mark Isham's special piano arrangement from his film score "The Secret Life of Bees-Suite for Piano." She premiered Steven Rosenhaus' Matilda Variations at the NY Australian Consulate, composed in honor of Australia for the concert.
Her discography includes Morning Music: Piano Works by Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach, Leo Kraft's Music for a Day. Laura was music director for the 2003 Emmy-award winning documentary The Hidden Life: The Story of the Sisters of St. Mary, produced and directed by Suzy Schechtman, broadcast on PBS. Her recording on the video The Household Moose is heard alongside Peter Schickele speaking about his autobiographical solo piano work, and his brother David Schickele's charming, free-spirited drawings-which illustrated the pages of the score.
She collaborated with friend and award-winning NY photographer Barry Rosenthal for the live premiere of Found in Nature: Visualizing a Photographer's Compositions (2008) by Leo Kraft, with digital animator David Tennet at Yamaha's NY Piano Salon; followed by Queens College's lecture Two Places: NY and Prague, in conjunction with Czech artist Anna Matoushkova's exhibition, and Place-Homage to Leo Kraft at the Mannes School of Music. PRO.JECT by Steven Rosenhaus was a 3-day free live event with photographers Rosenthal and Eric Jacobson and backdrop designer Sandro LeFerla.
Laura performed Hugo Weisgall's acclaimed Yiddish song cycle The Golden Peacock with the late soprano Judith Raskin at Queens College, soprano Ena Freeman at ASJM's Music In Our Time, and soprano Emily Duncan-Brown at the Center for Jewish History's International Symposium Imagination and Catastrophe: Art and the Aftermath of Genocide.
Laura maintains a strong connection to 20th century American composers who set the "compass" for composition today. She received an Ed.D. in Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation was "A Study, Analysis and Performance of the Songs and Song Cycles for Voice and Piano by Hugo Weisgall," considered one of America's most important 20th century opera composers.