Pianist Laura Leon: American Music At The Piano
Laura Leon is recognized for her solo and collaborative performances and recordings of a wide roster of American composers, including Peter Schickele, Eric Ewazen, Leo Kraft, Hugo Weisgall, 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 4-hand performance with the composer. She produced Peter Schickele's 75th birthday concert at Steinway Hall in 2011 with guest host Robert Sherman, renowned WQXR radio host.
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 Heifer International Bee Day program premiered film composer Mark Isham's special piano arrangement from his film score "The Secret Life of Bees-Suite for Piano" for the event. She premiered Steven Rosenhaus' Matilda Variations at the NY Australian Consulate, which she commissioned for the concert, honoring Australia.
Musical Tapestries Inc. just released her new recording, Masha's Arigato: A Piano Tribute to Sugihara and Japan, which received its premiere performance at the Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum in Tsuruga, Japan on November 3, 2020 during its reopening ceremony. It received its broadcast premiere online on December 8, 2020 during the Embassy of Japan in Canada's webinar event opening ceremony honoring Japanese WWII diplomat Chiune Sugihara.
Her discography includes Morning Music: Piano Works by Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach; and Changing the Pace with Grammy award-winning saxophonist Richie Cannata, Australian bassist Nicki Parrott, Brazilian percussionist Cafe and American drummer Adam Snyder. She can be heard on three soundtracks for Broken Tail Productions films: Amazing Grace (setting by Peter Schickele), NYC Surprising Subway Story: The Hat That Never Made It To Times Square ("Samba" by Rosenhaus), and Matilda Variations ("Matilda Variations" by Rosenhaus).
Laura was music director for the Emmy-award winning documentary The Hidden Life about the St. Mary's Order of Episcopal nuns, produced and directed by Suzy Schechtman, broadcast on PBS. Her video The Household Moose features Peter Schickele speaking about his unique and beautiful autobiographical solo piano work alongside the work's premiere recording and David Schickele's charming, free-spirited drawings-which illustrated the pages of the score.
She collaborated with award-winning NY photographer Barry Rosenthal for the live premiere of Photobotanicus in Found in Nature: Musical Visualizing a Photographer's Compositions by Leo Kraft and digital animator David Tennet at Yamaha's NY Piano Salon; followed by Queens College's Two Places: New York and Prague, in conjunction with Czech artist Anna Matoushkova's NY exhibition and Places-Homage to Leo Kraft at the Mannes School of Music; it was also shown at the Prague Museum of Music. PRO.JECT, composed by Steven Rosenhaus, was a 3-day live event with photographers Barry Rosenthal and Eric Jacobson, and backdrop designer Sandro LeFerla.
Laura performed Hugo Weisgall's acclaimed and deeply personal Yiddish song cycle The Golden Peacock with the late soprano Judith Raskin at Queens College, with 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. Deeply committed to education, she is active as a teacher. 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.