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DAVID LEISNER

DAVID LEISNER

Works

Recordings

Reviews


Fanfare magazine described the music of David Leisner as “rich in invention and melody, emotionally direct, and beautiful”. Guitar Review wrote, “not many composers manage to be equally satisfying to the hands, the ear and the mind as Leisner has.”

His music has been performed worldwide by such eminent artists as Sanford Sylvan, Paul Sperry, Juliana Gondek, Susan Narucki, D’Anna Fortunato, Eugenia Zukerman, Benjamin Verdery, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Cavatina Duo, Arc Duo, Pearl and Gray Duo, Saturday Brass Quintet, and orchestras such as the Fresno Philharmonic and the Springfield (MA and MO) and Amarillo Symphonies. Dances in the Madhouse, in its original version for violin/flute and guitar and as an arrangement for orchestra, has received hundreds of performances. Leisner’s complete works for flute and guitar have been recorded by the Cavatina Duo on the much acclaimed Acrobats album for the Cedille label, and he himself recorded his complete solo guitar works on Self-Portrait for Azica. Other works currently available on CD are on the SonyClassical, Dorian, Centaur, Town Hall, Signum, Acoustic Music, ABC, Athena, Fleur de Son and Barking Dog labels.

Works and commissions include Das Wundebare Wesen for baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and cello, West Wind for tenor William Ferguson and guitar, A Timeless Procession for baritone Holzmair and string quartet, Away for the Arc Duo, Of Darkness and Light for the Stones River Chamber Players, Vision of Orpheus for the St. Lawrence Quartet and Leisner (20th Century Unlimited series), Embrace of Peace for the Fairfield Orchestra, The Cat that Walked by Himself for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Battlefield Requiem for solo cellist Laurence Lesser and the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble, Fidelity for tenor Bruce Fowler, baritone Robert Osborne and pianist Warren Jones, and Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam for the Saturday Brass Quintet.

He has received composition grants from the American Music Center, the Alice M. Ditson Fund, the New England Foundation for the Arts and Meet the Composer. His works are published by Theodore Presser Co., G. Schirmer, Doberman-Yppan and Columbia Music.

David Leisner also maintains a busy career as a concert guitarist, performing in recital and as a soloist with orchestras around the world. Winner of top prizes in international guitar competitions at Geneva and Toronto, he is a featured solo artist with Azica Records, and has recorded chamber music on the Telarc, Koch and Etcetera labels, and concertos for Naxos and Opus One. Leisner is currently the co-chair of the guitar department at the Manhattan School of Music and also taught at the New England Conservatory for 22 years. A regular composition juror for the BMI Student Composer Awards, he has also been a juror for the New York Youth Symphony’s First Works commissions. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he studied composition with Richard Winslow, Virgil Thomson, Charles Turner and David Del Tredici.

For more information, please visit www.davidleisner.com



Works

Arrangements and Editions | Chamber Ensemble | Guitar Solo | Orchestra | Vocal and Choral




Arrangements and Editions


Elegy (Johann Kaspar Mertz)
Guitar Solo
Published: #144-40109


Fantaisie Hongroise (Johann Kaspar Mertz)
Guitar Solo


Kindermaerchen (Johann Kaspar Mertz)
Guitar Solo
Published: #114-40262


Liebeslied (Johann Kaspar Mertz)
Guitar Solo
Published: #114-40275


Partita in A Minor, BWV 1013 (J.S. Bach)
Arranged for Guitar Solo
Published: #144-40188


Polacca (Johann Kaspar Mertz)
Guitar Solo
Published: #114-40259


Romanze (Johann Kaspar Mertz)
Guitar Solo
Published: #114-40261


Suite No. 3, BWV 1009 (J.S. Bach)
Arranged for Guitar Solo
Published: #144-40306


Tarantelle (Johann Kaspar Mertz)
Guitar Solo
Published: #144-40267


Two-Part Inventions (Virgil Thomson)
Published: #114-40280


Variations on a Tune of Steven Foster (Richard Winslow)
Published: #114-40730


What is it? (Virgil Thomson)
Published: #111-40091



Chamber Ensemble


Acrobats for Flute and Guitar (2002) -- 13'
Available From Les Editions Doberman/Yppan


Ad majorem Dei gloriam for Brass Quintet (1992) -- 12'
Available From Composer


Battlefield Requiem for Solo Cello and Percussion Quartet (1995) -- 15'
Available From Composer


Candles in Mecca for Violin, Cello and Piano (1988) -- 23'
Available From Composer


Dances in the Madhouse for Violin or Flute and Guitar (1982) -- 12'
Published: #144-40143
Additional Information: Orchestral version available on rental from Theodore Presser Company.

Movements:
Ballad for the Lonely
Samba!
Tango Solitaire
Waltz for the Old Folks

Recordings


El Coco for Flute and Guitar (1999) -- 3'
Commission Information: part of Red Cedar Chamber Music's commission of 7 composers for their "Artistic Celebration for the 21st Century" project
Recordings


Extremes for Flute, Clarinet and Guitar (1987) -- 13'
Available From Les Editions Doberman/Yppan


Mirage for Guitar Duo (1987) -- 6'
Published: #144-40169
Recordings


Nostalgia for Violin or Flute and Guitar (1985) -- 5'
Published: #144-40307
Recordings


On Jazz Terrain for Flute, B-flat Clarinet, Alto Saxophone and Piano (1990) -- 13'
Available From Composer


Sonata for Violin and Guitar (1985) -- 16'
Published: #144-40151
Recordings


The Cat that Walked by Himself for Four Guitars (1988) -- 22'
Published: #144-40452

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40452P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40452S)


Three Moons for Cello and Guitar (1984) -- 16'
Published: #444-41017
Recordings


Trittico for Flute, Cello and Guitar (1985) -- 12'
Available From Les Editions Doberman/Yppan


Vision of Orpheus for Guitar and String Quartet (2000) -- 18'
Additional Information: Published: #144-40540



Guitar Solo


Billy Boy Variations for Solo Guitar (1983) -- 4'
Published: #144-40120
Recordings


Four Pieces for Guitar (1979, 1986) -- 15'
Additional Information: Published: #144-40551

Movements:
I. Prelude
II. Episode
III. Ritual
IV. Dance


Freedom Fantasies for Guitar
Available From Les Editions Doberman/Yppan


Labyrinths for Solo Guitar (2007) -- 16'
Additional Information: Published: #144-40539

Movements:
I. Shimmer
II. Shadow
III. Shiver
IV. Shatter
V. Shelter

Reviews


Nel Mezzo Sonata for Guitar (1998) -- 20'
Published: #144-40413
Recordings


Passacaglia and Toccata for Guitar (1982) -- 6'
Published: #144-40125
Recordings
Reviews


Roaming for Guitar Trio (1994) -- 8'
Available From Les Editions Doberman/Yppan



Orchestra


Dances in the Madhouse for Orchestra (1989) -- 13'
2(Picc.) 2 2 2 - 2 2 0 0; Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Additional Information: Original version for Violin/Flute and Guitar (1982) also available.

Movements:
Ballad for the Lonely
Samba!
Tango Solitaire
Waltz for the Old Folks

Reviews


Embrace of Peace for Orchestra (1991) -- 14'
2 2 2 2 - 4 2 2 1; Perc. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library



Vocal and Choral


"O Love is the Crooked Thing" for Medium Voice and Piano -- 15'
Additional Information: Published: #141-40081

Movements:
I. Down by the Salley Gardens
II. The Two Trees
III. A Drinking Song
IV. The Wild Swans at Coole
V. Brown Penny


Clouds and Waves for Children’s Chorus and Children’s String Orchestra (1993) -- 6'
Available From Composer


Confiding for High (or Medium) Voice and Piano (1985-86) -- 30'
Additional Information: Published: #141-40077 (high voice)
#141-40078 (medium voice)


Confiding for High Voice and Guitar (1985-86) -- 30'
Additional Information: Published: #141-40079


Fidelity for Tenor (or Soprano), Baritone and Piano (1996) -- 25'
Additional Information: Published: #141-40080

Movements:
I. Our Forward Shadows
II. Are you the new person drawn toward me?
III. Moon, Sun, Sleep, Birds, Live
IV. O My Love the Pretty Towns
V. Tree Marriage
VI. Sometimes he contemplates adultery
VII. Anniversary Song
VIII. Lullaby


Five Songs of Devotion for Medium Voice and Guitar (1989) -- 16'
Published: #491-00418
Commission Information: Written for Hazel Ketchum.

Movements:
I. The Lord is My Shepherd
II. Song of the Sky Loom
III. Breath of Nature
IV. Saint Clare
V. Silent Steps


Heaven's River for Soprano and Guitar (1991) -- 10'
Available From Les Editions Doberman/Yppan

Movements:
I. The Boat
II. Light
III. To the Stream


Ode for Solo Voice and Hand-Clapping
Available From Composer


Outdoor Shadows for High Voice and Guitar (1985) -- 12'
Published: #141-40018
Additional Information: Published: #141-40018

Movements:
I. Slow
II. Homeward
III. Yes, what?
IV. Seagulls
V. Sing a Song of Juniper


Simple Songs for Medium Voice and Guitar
Available From Associated Music Publishers (G. Schirmer)


Three James Tate Songs for Medium Voice and Guitar (2007) -- 11'
Additional Information: Published: #141-40074

Movements:
I. I Can't Speak for the Wind
II. Never Again the Same
III. From an Island


To Sleep for Medium (or Low) Voice and Piano (1994) -- 10'
Additional Information: Published: #141-40076

Movements:
I. Sleeping on the Ceiling
II. The Unbeliever
III. Sonnet


Yiddish Songs for Medium or High Voice and Guitar
Available From Les Editions Doberman/Yppan


Recordings


El Coco for Flute and Guitar


Cedille Records CDR 90000 096: Acrobats: Music of David Leisner
Cavatina Duo: Denis Azabagic/Guitar, Eugenia Moliner/Flute



Fleur de Son Classics FDS 57960: Red Cedar Collection
Jan Boland, flute, and John Dowdall, guitar



Billy Boy Variations for Solo Guitar


Azica Records 1236: "Self Portrait"
David Leisner, Guitar



Passacaglia and Toccata for Guitar


Azica Records 1236: "Self Portrait"
David Leisner, Guitar



Dances in the Madhouse for Violin or Flute and Guitar


Centaur Records CRC 2061:
Clayton Haslop, violin, and Jack Sanders, guitar.



Cedille Records CDR 90000 096: "Acrobats: Music of David Leisner"
Cavatina Duo: Denis Azabagic/Guitar, Eugenia Moliner/Flute



Barking Dog Records BDR 2161: Dances in the Madhouse
Harris-Coates Duo (Debora Harris, flute, and Mike Coates, guitar),



ABC Classics ABC 456 691-2: Music of the Americas
Virginia Taylor, flute, and Timothy Kain, guitar



Sonata for Violin and Guitar


Athena (Sonora) Records SACC 102: Music for Violin and Guitar
Arturo Delmoni, violin, and David Burgess, guitar



Mirage for Guitar Duo


Signum Records SIG X70-00: Bad Boy
Folkwang Guitar Duo (Volker Niehusmann and Carsten Linck, guitars)



Nostalgia for Violin or Flute and Guitar


Cedille Records CDR 90000 096: "Acrobats: Music of David Leisner"
Cavatina Duo: Denis Azabagic/Guitar, Eugenia Moliner/Flute



TownHall Records CD THCD-54: Continental Flavors
Clayton Haslop, violin, Jack Sanders, guitar



Nel Mezzo Sonata for Guitar


Azica Records 1236: "Self Portrait"
David Leisner, Guitar



Three Moons for Cello and Guitar


Acoustic Music Best No. 319.1155.242: Orange Moon
Villa Lobos Duo (Sven Holger Philippsen, cello, and Michael Seubert, guitar).



Reviews

"Leisner's songs have proved popular with the younger generation of American singers, and with reason. He has good literary judgment and shows imagination and taste in taking poems from disparate sources and putting them into cycles that trace emotional progress and develop dramatic shape. His prosody is excellent, and he sets words with an ear for sound, rhythm and sense… Best of all, Leisner has a gift for eloquently shaping a vocal line that is also grateful to sing… a gift for bringing a song around right at the very end, particularly in quiet closes that are at once surprising and inevitable."

-Boston Globe

"Leisner is a thoughtful composer who uses the orchestra with insight."

-The Stamford Advocate, CT

"… brilliant intellect in combination with brilliant sensitivity"

-Westport News (Westport, CT)


Passacaglia and Toccata for Guitar

"These pieces [Passacaglia and Toccata] are far superior to almost anything else being written for guitar today. Not many composers manage to be equally satisfying to the hands, the ear and the mind as Leisner has."

-Guitar Review


Dances in the Madhouse for Orchestra

"Leisner’s music was consumer-friendly, his forthright style simultaneously accessible and uncompromising. Spare texture, haunting colors, and fine solo efforts from first violin, oboe, trumpet and flute ignited the Tango Solitaire. Waltz for the Old Folks and Ballad for the Lonely invoked a soothing confluence of innocence and worldly wisdom, and Samba! made for an energetic close. Leisner applauded the orchestra and received a warm ovation."

-Springfield Union-News (MA)

"It is refreshing to find a work of such imagination and ingenuity that could be enjoyed by all types of listeners. In fact, virtually every aspect of Dances in the Madhouse supports the contention that a composer needn’t sacrifice originality and quality for accessibility...a work of exquisite beauty."

-Guitar Review

"We heard what may be one of the most spellbinding new compositions I have listened to in many a moon – David Leisner’s Dances in the Madhouse… It is one of those small but delightful pieces which we all go to concerts hoping to hear: something new which pleases on its first hearing yet promises to yield further treasures the next time… a contemporary gem."

-The Easthampton Star (NY)

"David Leisner’s four Dances in the Madhouse are a potent addition to the repertory – giddy, attractive reinterpretations of traditional forms."

-Los Angeles Times


Labyrinths for Solo Guitar

"…an ingenious and arresting compositional voice.

…reveling in its coloristic and textural complexities. Labyrinths is a fine addition to the classical guitar repertoire."

-Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review




Page last updated November 10, 2011