Pianist Laura Leon: American Music At The Piano
She was honored to perform solo piano works by Peter Schickele at the 2011 Classical Recording Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall-at which Mr. Schickele received its Composer of the Year Award presented by WNYC's John Schaefer--followed by a four-hand performance with the composer. Her participation was in conjunction with the release that year of Morning Music: Piano Works by Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach.
She produced and performed in Mr. Schickele's 75th birthday concert at Steinway Hall, hosted by Robert Sherman and featuring a roster of leading young instrumentalists.
The 2020 solo piano work Masha's Arigato: A Piano Tribute to Sugihara and Japan, composed by Nina Leon and recorded by Laura, received its 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 at the Museum's reopening ceremony.
Laura gave the North American premiere of Masha's Arigato on October 12, 2023 at a NYC event hosted by Japanese Ambassador Nikio Mori in honor of Takanobu Fushikami, the Honorable Mayor of Tsuruga City, Japan. She also performed Masha's Arigato during the opening event for the December 8-12, 2020 webinar 'Visas for Life' and the Bond of Humanity: Sugihara Chiune's courageous humanitarian act, hosted by the Embassy of Japan in Canada, in collaboration with the Embassies of Lithuania and Israel and the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.
She has collaborated with violinist Colin Jacobson, including at Tilles Center with Morton Gould's Suite for Violin and Piano, honoring the composer; and the Suite with violinist Renee Jolles at an American Society for Jewish Music in our Time.
Her program to help support Heifer International's International Bee Day included film composer Mark Isham's one-time piano arrangement from his film score "The Secret Life of Bees-Suite for Piano." She commissioned and premiered Steven Rosenhaus' Matilda Variations at the NY Australian Consulate, in honor of Australia.
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 multimedia collaborations include award-winning NY photographer Barry Rosenthal for the premiere of Found in Nature: Visualizing a Photographer's Compositions by Leo Kraft, with digital animator David Tennet at Yamaha's NY Piano Salon; followed by its performances at Queens College's Two Places: NY and Prague in conjunction with Czech artist Anna Matoushkova's exhibition Place-Homage to Leo Kraft and Mannes College of Music; PRO.JECT was a 3-day event with composer Steven Rosenhaus, photographers Barry Rosenthal and Eric Jacobson and backdrop designer Sandro LeFerla.
Laura has given numerous performances of Hugo Weisgall's heralded Yiddish song cycle The Golden Peacock including the late soprano Judith Raskin at Queens College, soprano Ena Freeman at the 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 for her disseration on songs and song cycles of Hugo Weisgall, one of America's most important 20th century opera composers.