Leander Star is the horn player with the City of Tomorrow, the only wind quintet to have won the gold medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in over ten years and the recipients of a 2014 Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant. The quintet was formed in 2010 and has since become known for their performances of virtuosic works, including the North American premiere of "Blow" by Franco Donatoni in 2010 and world premieres of works by Rob Keeley (2012), Zosha Di Castri (2012), and Nat Evans (2014). Leander also holds positions with the Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra and the Portland Opera Orchestra.

As well as his current work with the City of Tomorrow and orchestras in Portland, Oregon, Leander Star has performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under Maestros Riccardo Muti and Esa Pekka Salonen, Gruppo Montebello (the faculty chamber orchestra at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada), Fear No Music (Portland, Oregon), and the Friends of Rain Ensemble (the faculty new music ensemble at Lewis and Clark College.) He plays regularly with the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis, Tennessee and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Other projects include playing horn, singing, and speaking in "Wayfinders," a new staged performance art song cycle by Holcombe Waller and arranging and performing in "Homomentum," a new musical by Portland, Oregon playwright Max Voltage.

Leander Star teaches horn at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2013, he joined the faculty of Young Musicians and Artists, Oregon's premier summer residential arts program since 1965. If you are interested in private lessons, check out the "For Students" tab below.

Leander holds degrees in horn performance and literature from Northwestern University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His primary teachers include Gail Williams, William Barnewitz, Jonathan Ring, Robert Ward, and William Stalnaker.

Calendar & News

Dear Friends and Visitors,

One of the most awesome things about being a musician is the sheer variety of activities and types of projects that one does for work! This year is no exception; in addition to playing with the City of Tomorrow, the Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra, and the Portland Opera Orchestra, I'll be joining Holcombe Waller in his new performance art piece "Wayfinders", playing with "IRIS" - the top-notch chamber orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee, and starting a new youth contemporary ensemble for students in Memphis, Tennessee! Please keep in touch and I hope to see you at some of the events below!

Upcoming Performances in 2014

DateEvent Description
Jun 22 - Jul 4My favorite time of the summer - camp! Join the fun at Young Musicians & Artists, Oregon's premiere residential arts summer program!
Aug 14The Portland, Oregon premiere of Holcombe Waller's gorgeous piece, "Wayfinders" at the Imago Theater.
Sept 27 - Oct 4Appearances by the City of Tomorrow in New York and Ohio. See website for details and tickets.
Nov 7 - 23Performances of "Wayfinders" by Holcombe Waller at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Dec 13 - 21That special time when kitchen utensils become dolls and dolls come alive-- it's Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra's "Nutcracker!"
For Students

Welcome to the Studio!

Whether you are just a beginner or are coming back after years without playing, I can help guide your growth as a musician. I have prepared students for college auditions and coached winners for solo competitions. Most of all, I endeavor to impart lasting practice skills, deeper self-awareness, and great excitement about music and performing! Lessons are taught in Memphis, Tennessee during the school year and in Portland, Oregon in the summer.

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My teaching philosophy:

  • Fundamentals are the key to success. Understanding and integrating basic principles of brass playing (including air-support, embouchure, and articulation) are the primary goals of most exercises.
  • Lessons should be fun and full of experimentation. During lessons, there will be times when we improvise, try to make different noises on our instruments, and try out new ways of solving problems.
  • Music can be understood instinctually and intellectually. Both are important to being a musician. During lessons we will improve the instinctual understanding of music by singing, listening, and exploring options of musical expression. Intellectual understanding will be deepened through study of music theory, composition, and historical performance-practice.

If you are interested in a trial lesson or have other questions, please feel free to email me at starlg@gmail.com or call me at (503) 964-3956. Below, you can read testimonials of past and current students.


"Leander was our son's first horn teacher. He quotewas effortlessly patient and encouraging. He helped K. a lot with learning how to practice. He set up the lessons so there was always something really fun to do- a time to play with the horn and experiment with different sounds. He is a great role model for a young musician, combining a deep integrity and commitment to the instrument with a sense of playfulness and enjoyment. I would highly recommend him to other students and their families." -- Lisa, parent

example graphic"Coming back to playing the French horn after a 15 year break was very intimidating to me. However, I found Leander very patient and knowledgeable about teaching the horn. He provided me with lessons that were challenging and fun. I looked forward to my weekly lessons and really wanted to practice. His warm-up exercises were quick and the duets we did at the end of each lesson provided that added twist to the normal playing of the weekly work. I would recommend Leander to others and if I can get my own son or daughter to take up the French horn, I would be pleased if Leander was around to teach them also." --Jim, adult student

"Leander took my 6th grader from absoulute beginner to competent horn and trumpet player in less than a year, and makes sure to make lessons enjoyable, not intimidating. He has a way of being fun and low-key while sneakily teaching music theory, breathwork, and sight reading, and my daughter looks forward to her weekly lessons and (usually) practices happily. And of course he plays beautifully and brings his experience as a professional into every lesson. I’d recommend him wholeheartedly to young musicians, college students, and adults of all levels." --Jennifer, parent


The City of Tomorrow performing "Riccorenze" by Luciano Berio.

The City of Tomorrow performing "Music for Breathing" by Nat Evans.

Bruce Broughton's Sonata for Horn and Piano, performed in 2010 with Nolan Pearson.

Alec Wilder's Sonata No. 1 for Horn and Piano, performed in 2009 with Kay Kim.


To contact me directly for performances, lessons, questions, or anything else, email StarLG@gmail.com or telephone 503-964-3956.

If you are inquiring about lessons for yourself or your child, please indicate in your message the instrument (French horn or trumpet) and skill level of the prospective student.

Thank you for your interest!