Leonard Lehrman Biography
was born in Kansas, on August 20, 1949, but grew up in Roslyn, NY, graduating salutatorian from Roslyn High School, where he played the Chopin Piano Concerto #1 with the high school orchestra, in 1967.
In 1960, he became the youngest (and longest) private composition student of Elie Siegmeister
The photo below, taken Jan. 7, 1984, shows him with Siegmeister and Ronald Edwards, with whom he performed a Siegmeister/Lehrman recital at TOMI and Stern College, honoring Siegmeister's 75th birthday.
Lehrman's works number 180 to date, and have been heard throughout Europe, North America, Israel, Australia, and at the United Nations. His setting of Abel Meeropol (Lewis Allan)'s poem "Conscience" for chorus and orchestra won the 2002 Sunrise/Sunset Competition of the Brookhaven Arts Council and was premiered at the Brookhaven Choral Festival with an orchestra of 55 and a chorus of 160 on July 13, 2002. Editor 1999-2002 of Opera Today
(the publication of the Center for Contemporary Opera), he has worked professionally for over four decades as conductor, coach, accompanist, translator, stage director, producer and critic for Opera Monthly
(of which he was Associate Editor 1991-94), WBAI, the Metropolitan Opera (1977-78), Bel Canto Opera, After Dinner Opera, Aviva Players, the Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus and the Jewish Music Theater of Berlin (both of which he founded), the Oceanside Chorale, the Bronx Opera Company (which commissioned his translation of Chabrier's Une Education Manquée
for January 2006), and various regional companies throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
As Assistant Chorus Master at the Met, he made his debut conducting the chorus Boris Godunov
backstage, opening night in September 1977, along with Chorus Master David Stivender, with whom he is pictured in the photo below, taken in the dressing room, backstage.
Since 1987, he has given over 400 concert performances together with soprano Helene Williams
(they were married by Cantor Charles Osborne at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue July 14, 2002),
including numerous productions of his own stage works, and concert tours of Europe (7 times), Canada, Hawaii, Australia, and Israel: On July 1, 2006 they performed at the Felicja Blumental Music Center in Tel Aviv, singing, among other things, Leonard's translation of the "Shir L'Shalom," which Yitzhak Rabin sang the night he died, Nov. 4, 1995. Their audience included Leonard's cousin, former Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo "Cheech" Lahat,
(far left in the family picture above) who had stood on the platform with Rabin that night.
called him "my continuator," while Leonard Bernstein dubbed him "Marc Blitzstein's dybbuk
The following two photographs, taken by N.S. Lehrman M.D. Dec. 5, 1970
at the Boston premiere of Blitzstein's The Harpies
and I've Got the Tune
together with Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti
(dedicated to Blitzstein),
show Leonard Bernstein embracing Leonard Lehrman--producer/music director/star of the show--and were signed by Bernstein "From Leonard to Leonard, von Herz zu Herz"
January 17, 1974, the day Lehrman played him his completion of Idiots First
and at their last meeting, in Berlin "A Decade Later."
As the leading living expert on the works of Marc Blitzstein
(1905-1964), 20 of which he has adapted/reconstructed/completed, Lehrman was chosen by the Blitzstein Estate to edit The Marc Blitzstein Songbook
, published by Boosey & Hawkes in 3 volumes (1999, 2001, 2003), and by Greenwood Press to complete the Blitzstein bio-bibliography in their series (published by Praeger
Sept. 30, 2005). In February 2001, under contract with the Blitzstein Estate, he completed the vocal score of Blitzstein's magnum opus
, the opera
Sacco and Vanzetti
, having led a symposium
on the subject at the National Opera Association convention in Boston in Dec., 1995. He completed the orchestral score in October 2003. It is available from Theodore Presser.
On Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. he can be found answering reference questions at the
Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library
. His articles have appeared frequently in the Forward
, Jewish Week
, Jewish Currents
, and Aufbau
. He is currently Copy Eidtor and Critic-at-Large for The New Music Connoisseur
and serves on the Advisory Board of Composers Concordance
He has a B.A. cum laude in Music from Harvard, a masters and a doctorate in music composition from Cornell, and a second masters in Library & Information Science from Long Island University, where he founded the Long Island Composers Archive. He also studied privately with Olga Heifetz; Nadia Boulanger (on a Fulbright grant); Erik Werba (in Salzburg and Ghent); Kyriena Siloti (at the Longy School); David Del Tredici, Earl Kim, Leon Kirchner and Lukas Foss (at Harvard); Karel Husa, Robert Palmer and Thomas Sokol (at Cornell); Tibor Kozma, Wolfgang Vacano, Donald Erb and John Eaton (at Indiana); and was the youngest student in the first Performance Seminar in Chamber Music with the Guarneri Quartet in 1965. He also served as the youngest U.S. delegate to the International Music Congress in Moscow in 1971, and one of the oldest delegates to the International Youth Festival there in 1985.
Having been Music Director of Community Presbyterian Church in Malverne, NY 1992-2003, on May 1, 2003 he became Minister of Music at Christ Church Babylon, NY. On April 30, 2006 his title was changed to Director of Music/Composer-in-Residence. On September 7, 2006, he becomes Director of Music/Composer-in-Residence at St. George's Episcopal Church, Hempstead NY
, having also just been appointed Music Director at Jericho Jewish Center.
Founder/Director of The Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus
, since 1989 he has been Founder/Director of the Opera-Musical Theater Special Interest Group of The Naturist Society
. In 2006 he became, with Richard Corey, Co-Director of the National Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case
. A member of ASCAP, GEMA, the American Music Center, the American Guild of Organists, the Guild of Temple Musicians (2007 Convention Concerts Chair), the Society for American Music, the Music Critics Association of North America, the Music Library Association (Founder of the Composers/Performers Roundtable), and the American Civil Liberties Union, he is Artistic Administrator of The Professor Edgar H. Lehrman Memorial Foundation, Inc., Co-Founder (with Helene Williams) of the Elie Siegmeister Society
and Court Street Music
in Valley Stream, and Archivist Emeritus of The Long Island Composers Alliance, Inc. (of which he was president for 7 years, 1991-98, the longest term in that organization's history.)
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