Canadian violinist and violist Leslie Ashworth was named one of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2021 Hot 30 Under 30 Classical Musicians and was a 2022 prize winner of the Stepping Stone International Competition in Quebec City. Leslie has performed in New York’s Carnegie Hall and Toronto’s Koerner Hall and at renowned festivals, including the Music Academy of the West in California, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in Toronto, International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Italy, Zodiac Music Festival in France, the Banff Centre Strings Masterclasses and the Aspen Music Festival.
Leslie is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree with Misha Amory at The Juilliard School as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow. She earned her Master’s of Music in Viola Performance in May 2023 as a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. She is also a current Ear Training Teaching Fellow and Morse Community Engagement Teaching Artist at Juilliard. She has developed her Baroque violin and viola playing under Robert Mealy and Cynthia Roberts as a historical performance secondary lessons student at Juilliard and has been invited to perform with the Juilliard415 Ensemble. Leslie is also a passionate advocate for new music by living composers, playing in the New Juilliard Ensemble and premiering fellow students’ works, including a Viola Concerto written for her and string orchestra.
Leslie earned her Bachelor of Music Performance from The Glenn Gould School under Barry Shiffman and Paul Kantor on the Tim and Frances Price Scholarship. Upon graduating on the Dean’s List, she was awarded the Sir Edmund Walker Foundation scholarship from The Glenn Gould School to support her graduate studies abroad. She graduated with her Master’s of Music in Violin Performance in May 2021 from Rice University on the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Full Scholarship.
As a violinist and violist, Leslie has appeared as guest soloist with numerous orchestras in Canada, in concertos by Barber, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Paganini, and Stamitz. She has performed in leadership orchestral positions for the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, Rice Chamber Orchestra, Music Academy of the West Orchestra, and Juilliard Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Leslie has received coachings and mentorship by Robert Levin, Samuel Rhodes, Steven Dann, James Dunham, Steven Tenenbom, and members of the Takacs Quartet.
As a composer, Leslie has studied composition with Dr. Philip Lasser at Juilliard and her compositions have received recognition, including first place in the Sudbury Youth Orchestra’s Young Women Composers’ Competition 2022 and Jeunesses Musicales du Canada’s Home Sweet Home Composition Competition 2020.
Passionate about leadership, outreach, and arts administration, Leslie received the Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award for founding Suite Melody Care, a non-profit sharing interactive performances with hospital patients and elderly in Canada and the U.S. Leslie also holds leadership positions with Music Mondays New York City as a Program Associate, a Youth Advisory Council Member for the American Viola Society, and Outreach Coordinator for Strings with Qigong.
Leslie shares her musical and educational expertise, working in the role of Music Specialist for Digital Learning at the Royal Conservatory of Music, collaborating on projects such as Online ARCT History, Teaching Online Course, and Online Sight Reading tool. As a writer, Leslie participated in the Emerging Arts Critic Programme with publications in WholeNote, Opera Canada, and Dance Current.
Leslie plays on a 1696 Albani violin on loan from a private benefactor and an 1851 Guiseppe Rocca viola on loan from The Juilliard School. She gratefully acknowledges the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation for supporting her studies at Juilliard (2022–23).
Leslie is the Founder and Director of the Suite Melody Care program which involves talented, young musicians giving back to their community by sharing themed, interactive performances in local hospitals, long-term care, and retirement homes in Ontario, Canada as well as Iowa, U.S. Leslie's third CD/DVD, The Suite Melody Care CD/DVD endorsed by the Ontario Government's Summer Company Program grant is available online Leslie was honoured with the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Service Youth Award for her dedication to giving back to the community and inspiring youth through Suite Melody Care performances.
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