An engaging performer and inspired educator, Austin native Leah Nelson has become a highly sought after violist. Leah has performed throughout the United States including Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall. As a chamber musician she performs and collaborates regularly with other artists in the Austin Texas area and was a founding member of the Left Coast String Quartet and Felix Quartet. Leah enjoys working with a wide variety of musicians. Not only has she had the pleasure of sharing the stage with musicians such as Yo Yo Ma, Sarah Chang and Anne Akiko Myers, but she has toured with Andrea Bocelli and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Having the chance to perform with Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, and recording with the Grammy nominated band Devotchka have been highlights of her career. Here in Austin Leah works frequently with composer Graham Reynolds. She can be heard on the newest commissioned work by Ballet Austin, Exit Wounds, as well as on the sound track to the movie Bernie, directed by Richard Linklater. Leah had the opportunity to work with composer Catherine Davis as a featured violist on the Illusory Impressions Project. As an orchestral musician, Leah has performed regularly with the Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera, the New West Symphony and the American Youth Symphony.
Leah began her professional studies at the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance under the tutelage of Roger Myers. Ms. Nelson holds a Master of Music degree as well from the University of Southern California where she studied with the world-renowned performer and pedagogue Donald McInnes. In addition Leah has also studied at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena Italy under the great Russian violist Yuri Bashmet.
Leah is passionate about serving young people with access to high quality music education. She believes in the power of music study to deepen young people’s artistic skills, minds and hearts. Growing up in Austin she attended Austin High School and had the opportunity to work with Robert Rudié, the founder of Salon Concerts as her string quartet coach in 11th and 12th grade. It was during those years that Leah developed a deep love for chamber music and small ensemble playing. While in Los Angeles, Leah was Director of the American Youth Symphony Educational Outreach Program and on faculty with Education through Music Los Angeles. In addition to being Executive Director for Salon Concerts and the CHAMPS program Leah continues to coach chamber music ensembles and has held a thriving private studio for over a decade.