Leigh Harrold

Leigh Harrold

Pianist Leigh Harrold has emerged in recent years as “a musician of rare talent and intelligence” (Raymond Chapman Smith) and is one of Australia’s busiest and most sought-after piano players, winning the Adelaide Critics’ Circle prize for Best Emerging Artist of 2005. Born in Whyalla, South Australia, Leigh completed undergraduate and post- graduate studies at The University of Adelaide with concert pianist Gil Sullivan. During this time he had many successes including being a National Finalist in the Young Performer Awards, a semi-finalist in the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, twice winner of the Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Award and recipient of the prestigious Beta Sigma Phi Classical Music Award. He moved to Melbourne in 2003 to take up a full scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music under the mentorship of Geoffrey Tozer and in 2004 was made the Academy Fellow – the first person in the institution’s history to be chosen as such after just one year of study. As a soloist, Leigh has performed with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the ANAM Chamber Orchestra and is broadcast regularly on ABC-FM and the MBS radio network. He maintains a fruitful and ongoing relationship with the composers of ‘The Firm’ and has had several piano works written for him as a result. In 2006 he was their Artist-in- Residence performing a highly acclaimed cycle of 6 concerts, causing the Adelaide Review to remark ‘…few have as magical touch as Harrold. Every phrase glowed with a radiant intensity that has become [his] hallmark.’ As a chamber musician he has earnt an international reputation, having performed as duo partner with such luminaries as Thomas Reibl, lecturer in viola at the Salzburg Mozarteum; Michael Cox, principal flautist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Daniel Gaede, ex-concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Swedish cellist Mats Lidstrom; and British pianist Mark Gasser. Other significant international collaborations have included performance and studies with Andrew Ball at the London Royal College of Music; New York- based pianist Lisa Moore and English composer Peter Maxwell Davies. In June 2002, Leigh traveled to the Orkney Islands to perform a concert of Maxwell Davies’ works in the presence of the composer and in 2003 was the only participant of the 700-strong InternationalSalzburg Summer Festival selected to perform as both soloist and chamber musician in the Weiner-Saal of The Mozarteum. Leigh has just returned from an extensive tour of the USA where he presented lecture-recitals on the piano music of Robert Muczynski. He is currently in the process of recording Muczynski’s complete piano sonatas for ABC Classics. In between studying for a Ph.D. in piano performance and working at the Australian National Academy of Music, Leigh finds time to go on long walks, read voraciously, write musical articles and programme notes, and drink lots of (decaf) coffee. He holds two University medals – one for Music and one for Applied Science.