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Biography

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Leander Star is a French horn player and an award-winning chamber musician. His quintet, The City of Tomorrow, is the only wind quintet to have won the gold medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in over ten years and the only wind quintet to ever be invited to the Shouse Institute at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. Leander has performed with members of the Chicago Symphony in concerts with the Chicago Chamber Musicians and presented new works with Fear No Music and the faculty new music ensemble at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Leander 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, Leander Star has performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under Maestro Riccardo Muti and Maestro Esa Pekka Salonen, Gruppo Montebello (the faculty chamber orchestra at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada), and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. He plays regularly with the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis, Tennessee, the Portland Opera in the Parks Orchestra, the Astoria Music Festival Symphony, and the Boise Philharmonic. Other projects include performing with the overly intimate chamber ensemble, Bird in My Horns and with The Northwest Horn Orchestra.

As an avid educator, Leander has maintained private music studios and given seminars on brass playing in Chicago's north suburbs and throughout the west coast. In 2013, Leander joined the faculty of Young Musicians and Artists, Oregon's premier 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,

The summer of 2013 is bringing great changes for Elise and me! With her new job at the University of Memphis, we are (once again!) picking up our life and moving it to a new city. I couldn't be more excited for the move-- a new city with a vibrant music culture and scrappy spirit sounds just right, to me!

I'll be holding on to my positions with the Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra and the Portland Opera Orchestra for now, which will mean traveling back to Portland fairly often. And of course, there are many exciting projects and travel plans coming up this year with the The City of Tomorrow.

One thing I'm particularly looking forward to when we arrive in Memphis is the 45th International Horn Symposium. I signed up hoping to meet local horn players and take advantage of living in the city where the symposium will take place. But, as you can see below, I've been roped in to playing on a couple of the concerts during the weeklong conference! Maybe I'll see you there!

Peace and thank you for visiting my site!

Upcoming Performances in 2013

DateEvent Description
Jul 31As part of the 45th International Horn Symposium, Joan Watson performs "Songs My Mother Taught Me" with horn quartet accompaniment. Also, my former colleague from the Yakima Symphony, Jeff Snedeker presents music of jazz horn pioneer John Graas. 1pm at the Rose Theater, The University of Memphis.
Aug 3The final concert of the 45th International Horn Symposium will include a world premiere of "Der Kopprasch von den Klambalungen", libretto by Prof. I.M. Gestopftmitscheist, music by Lamargene Gumbuddy with no apologies to Richard Wagner or anybody else! Horn dorks will love this one! I will also be participating in some horn-ified big band music on this all-out blow-out concert.
Oct 4-5The City of Tomorrow performs as a featured ensemble at the Unruly Music Festival at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Details to come.
Nov 1-9Portland Opera Orchestra presents Richard Strauss' "Salome". Salome's lust for an imprisoned man, coupled with her stepfather's lecherous desires, result in John the Baptist's severed head on a plate!
Dec 14-24That 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!

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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.



Testimonials

"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

Listen

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.

Also, check out these videos of The City of Tomorrow! The first is an excerpt from a performance of Elliott Carter's first Wind Quintet and the other is one of our first performances, when we gave the North American premiere of Franco Donatoni's "Blow"!
Contact
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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!