Edward Leonard was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He started his early musical training on the violin at the age of four under the direction of his parents, both string players in the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Leonard would later begin his piano training which would eventually earn him a full scholarship to complete his Bachelor’s Degree cum laude in Piano Performance under the direction of Enrique Graf at the College of Charleston. While there, he performed in numerous venues such as the Monday Night Concert Series and the Thursday noon concerts at the College of Charleston, the Candlelight Concert Series at historic Drayton Hall, and appeared as soloist with the College of Charleston Orchestra and the Charleston Metropolitan Orchestra. He also composed several pieces that were premiered at the annual Composers’ Forum at the College of Charleston.
Mr. Leonard was accepted on full scholarship to study with Juan Pablo Izquierdo at Carnegie Mellon University where he earned his Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting and completed the Performance in Residency Program. As a conductor he has worked extensively the Carnegie Mellon ensembles, such as the Philharmonic, Contemporary Ensemble, and Repertoire Orchestra not only in conducting his own programs, but preparing them for conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis and Erich Kunzel. Mr. Leonard has also been a frequent guest conductor in the Pittsburgh area. He has conducted the Edgewood Symphony and Butler Symphony after winning the 2007 BCSO Young Conductors’ Competition. The past five summers, he has attended the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Orchestral Conductors in Maine as one of only a handful of participants from throughout the world. From his second to fourth seasons there, he was named an Orchestra Assistant. Mr. Leonard is currently in his third season as Music Director and Conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic. At home equally in both traditional and new music, Mr. Leonard is constantly engaged as a guest conductor. He performs regularly with the Pittsburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra, the OvreArts New Music Ensemble, the Pittsburgh Savoyards, and the Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra.