As a violinist, chamber musician, soloist, leader, producer, and pedagogue, Leah Gale Nelson specializes in 17th and 18th century historical performance practice. Based in New York City, she has performed throughout North America and in Europe, and is known for her refined and artistic interpretations of baroque and classical music. She frequently collaborates with dancers, filmmakers, stage and choral directors, and colleagues, joining early music and historical practice with modern performance, including projects with Skid Rococo, the New York Baroque Dance Company, BALAM Dance Theatre, Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre, and Isabel Gotzkowsky and Friends. She has led performances of landmark literature for some of the finest choirs in New York, and has served as concertmaster for the Aspen Festival Opera Theater, Gotham Chamber Opera (NYC), and Chicago Opera Theater, in Chicago and New York, as guest director for Lyra Baroque Orchestra in Minneapolis, and has been concertmaster and guest soloist for the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York City, since 1999, where she is Artist in Residence. In 2007, Ms. Nelson began a traversal of Biber's “Rosary Sonatas” in concerts at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in New York and in Minneapolis at the Basilica of Saint Mary, a journey that inspired a recording for the Lyrichord label, Biber: The Sacred Mysteries released to critical acclaim in 2011. With BALAM Dance Theatre she created Fandango Fantasie, (2004) performing her solo violin arrangement of Boccherini's “Fandango” Quintet, and her rendition of Biber's Passacaglia (2005) is in the repertoire of the dance company Isabel Gotzkowsky and Friends. She spent her early days in early music performing orchestral and chamber music throughout the country, especially along the Northeast Corridor, from Boston to Washington DC, with Concert Royal, Clarion Music Society, the American Classical Orchestra, Boston Camerata, NYSBaroque, The Publick Musick, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, and Washington Bach Consort, among others, and also with Musica Angelica (L.A.), Dallas Bach Society, The Schubert Club (St. Paul, MN), and Dublin's Opera Theatre Company (at the Brooklyn Academy of Music). She has worked with leading early music directors including Jane Glover, Paul Goodwin, Drew Minter, Anthony Newman, Andrew Parrot, Fredrick Renz, James Richman, Catherine Turocy, Newell Jenkins, and Paul Echols. Born in Texas and raised in Minnesota, Ms. Nelson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Chicago Musical College, where she studied orchestral repertoire through the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, notably under Michael Morgan, Daniel Barneboim, John Corigliano, Leonard Slatkin, Christopher Hogwood, and Sir Georg Solti; and a Master of Music degree from Mannes College of Music in New York, where she studied violin with David Nadien, and historical performance through their once vibrant Historical Performance Program. She coaches string players in historical performance for the New York Continuo Collective, has also coached the Collegium Musicum and Baroque Opera Project at Yale, and has served on the faculties of the Aspen Music Festival and Mannes College of Music.
photo: Paul Hakimata