|Julia Crowe's new book, My First Guitar, subtitled Tales of True Love and Lost Chords
from 70 Legendary Musicians, was recently released. David is one of those "legendary
musicians", along with Ben Verdery, Sharon Isbin, the Assad Duo, David Russell,
Fred Hand, Fabio Zanon, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, Andrew York, John
Dearman, Roland Dyens, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Jorge Morel, Dennis Koster and a
bunch of rock, jazz and blues guitar greats. It includes some delightful photos of the
musicians as kids and a whole lot of terrific stories about their first encounters with
the guitar. Go to amazon.com for more info.
The Arc Duo's latest flute and guitar CD for Azica features the Leisner composition,
Away. It is one of four commissions by the Diller-Quaile School of Music featured on
the album. The other three are by Roland Dyens, Shafer Mahoney and Judah
Adashi. For more info, click here.
Two great new reviews of David's latest solo CD, Favorites, have recently appeared.
Jed Distler wrote in the May issue of the UK magazine, Gramophone: "David
Leisner's technically immaculate and musically mindful interpretation of Britten's
Nocturnal can hold its own with Julian Bream's two reference versions...All told, an
immensely satisfying and thoughtfully put-together programme that should please all
guitar fans." Angelo Gilardino wrote an uncommonly thoughtful and intelligent
review of the album as well as overview of David's career in the April issue of the
Italian music magazine, Suonare. One quote reads: "What distinguishes him is the
consistency of his approach to the repertoire, following only his inner voice. It could
be said that he cares only to be true to himself, without being influenced by anything
else...Not even in the theatricality of Paganini does Leisner fall prey to the temptation
of displaying his technical virtuosity. Using only the technique that is necessary to
calibrate the musical expression, he makes virtuosity disappear." For the complete
review and more from the Gramophone review, click here.
Elias Blumm, a critic for the online classical music blog, I Care If You Listen,
reviewed very favorably David's most recent Guitar Plus duo recital with pianist Jon
Klibonoff, reporting: "Leisner and Klibonoff’s performance was marked by an
enthusiasm that pushed their instruments to their furthest reaches while—to the credit
of the performers—retaining a precise balance. The similarities in attack and decay
that Klibonoff referenced were on display in a way that suggested that one instrument
was an extension of the other, notes living and dying with a reciprocally beautiful
vivacity." About the premiere of Leisner's solo piano piece, Blumm wrote: "His
original composition for piano solo proved that classical guitarists can be legitimate
musical thinkers with the ability to range out of the cramped knot that is them and
their instrument and into a world of sound and color that points towards totally new
directions." To read more, click here.
"David Leisner is among the finest guitarists currently performing - and, given that
the level of playing has never been higher, that means among the finest of all time,"
writes Ken Keaton of the American Record Guide. David's latest solo CD for Azica,
Favorites "may well be one of the top guitar discs for an Earth Time Capsule,"
reports Roger Cope of the CVNC Online Arts Journal. For the full review, click here.
The album contains 3 major works that David has played for most of his life and feels
especially close to: the Britten Nocturnal, Bach Chaconne and Paganini Grand Sonata.
The disc also includes 5 pieces by the little-known Alexander Ivanov-Kramskoi, a
20th-century late Romantic composer in the tradition of Tchaikovsky. For more info,
Merion Music/Theodore Presser Co. recently released Labyrinths for solo guitar by
David Leisner. South Florida Classical Review reported that Labyrinths signaled an
ingenious and arresting compositional voice". The work is in five movements, with
the titles: Shimmer, Shadow, Shiver, Shatter and Shelter.
Presser is in the process of publishing all of Leisner's unpublished works to date.
Other recent releases include: Four Pieces (15') for solo guitar, Confiding (30'), a
song cycle to women's poems (mostly Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte), available
for high voice and guitar or high voice and piano or medium voice and piano, "O
Lovc is the Crooked Thing" (15') for medium voice and piano, Fidelity (22') for
tenor/soprano, baritone and piano, Bloom (9') for string quartet, Vision of Orpheus
(18') for guitar and string quartet, To Sleep (10') for medium voice and piano, and
Three James Tate Songs (9') for medium voice and guitar. The music may be ordered
through all normal sheet music suppliers, as well as at Theodore Presser Co.
Several videos of David's recent live performances have been posted on YouTube.
Two stellar performances of the Bach Chaconne and a movement from the Sonata in b
minor by Wenzeslaus Matiegka came from the National Guitar Workshop. They were
filmed with a hand-held iPhone 4 in an alternate air-conditioned space for a too-hot
summer evening, so the quality's not fabulous and the venue's not glamourous, but
the performances make up for it. Click here for the Bach and click here for the
David has been enjoying his recent performances with tenor Will Ferguson. These
YouTube excerpts show why: Click here for "Bach" from Dominick Argento's Letters
from Composers, click here for Dowland's "Come Again", click here for Gershwin's
"They Can't Take That Away", and click here for Gershwin's Somebody Loves Me.
David plans to record soon the 35-minute solo guitar piece he commissioned from
one of America's greatest composers, David Del Tredici and premiered with great
success last year in New York. The 4-movement Facts of Life, will go on a disc for the
Azica label which will also include Bach's Lute Suite BWV 997 and Osvaldo Golijov's
Fish Tale for flute and guitar (along with the Del Tredici, another world premiere
iTunes now has all of David's solo CDs on the Azica label, as well as his Naxos
recording of the Hovhaness Concerto. Click here for more info.
Favorites CD photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco, Del Tredici photo by Ralph Jackson
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guitarist and composer