Edward Leonard was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He started his early musical training on the violin at the age of four under the direction of his parents; both string players in the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Leonard would later begin his piano training which would eventually earn him a full scholarship to complete his Bachelor’s Degree cum laude in Piano Performance under the direction of Enrique Graf at the College of Charleston. While there, he performed in numerous venues such as the Monday Night Concert Series and the Thursday noon concerts at the College of Charleston, the Candlelight Concert Series at historic Drayton Hall, and appeared as soloist with the College of Charleston Orchestra and the Charleston Metropolitan Orchestra. He also composed several pieces that were premiered at the annual Composers’ Forum at the College of Charleston.
Mr. Leonard, currently residing in Pittsburgh, was accepted on full scholarship to study with Juan Pablo Izquierdo at Carnegie Mellon University where he earned his Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting and completed the Performance in Residency Program. As a conductor he has worked extensively the Carnegie Mellon ensembles, such as the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, Contemporary Ensemble, and Repertoire Orchestra not only in conducting his own programs, but preparing them for conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis, Erich Kunzel, Thomas Baldner, David Effron, and others. For five summers, he attended the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Orchestral Conductors in Maine as one of only a handful of participants from throughout the world to study with Maestro Michael Jinbo. For four seasons he served as an Orchestra Assistant there.
Mr. Leonard maintains a busy schedule in the Pittsburgh area as a conductor. After completing his degrees, he worked as the Assistant Conductor with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh where he collaborated on more than ten productions and with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater where he aided in the preparation of the orchestra and as cover conductor in numerous ballets. He is currently in his fourth season as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic where he introduced innovative programming and sparked audience growth. Mr. Leonard is also constantly engaged as a guest conductor. At home equally in traditional as well as new music, as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Ovrearts New Music Ensemble, the Savoyards Pittsburgh in their production of “Iolanthe” and the Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra. He also is the founder and Music Director of The Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh, a non-profit ensemble currently in their fourth season performing the greatest works of the Chamber Orchestra Repertoire.
Edward has also worked extensively with Youth Orchestras in Pittsburgh and abroad. Recent engagements include the Pittsburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra, Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra, The Brass Symposium and Festival in Ambato, Ecuador, and Youth Chamber Connection Orchestra at the Chautauqua Institute. Mr. Leonard was invited to be the Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra for the 2017-18 season.