david leisner
guitarist and composer
photo by Kate Raudenbush
An Interview with David Leisner by Benjamin Verdery
Soundboard magazine, Volume XXXIII, 2007

Two CDs of David Leisner's compositions have recently been released, within months of each other.  
One is a collection of his complete solo guitar works, performed by the composer on Self-Portrait
(Azica ACD 71236), and the other is his complete works for flute and guitar, performed by the
Cavatina Duo on Acrobats (Cedille CDR 90000 096).  In addition, during the same period of time,
two of his vocal works have been included on CDs by Catherine and Kevin Cooper (Doberman-
Yppan DO 600) and the Olson/De Cari Duo (Talking Cat Records TCR 3709).  This is a rare
concurrence of events and a significant honor for any composer, so when David was asked by
Soundboard magazine to be interviewed, he thought it might be interesting if I conducted the
interview.  It was an honor to do, as well as an illuminating and moving experience.  David has been
a dear friend for years and someone whose artistic achievements I have greatly admired.  

The questions in this interview were formed after listening to these two new magnificent recordings.  
Some of the more pertinent ones, for example concerning apparel (does he wear the same shirt
while composing sonatas as he does when composing songs?), were sadly omitted!!!   

There can be no substitute for experience which is gained through perseverance, commitment and
integrity.  During the last thirty years, David has created a body of work that speaks for itself.  I hope
it will inspire younger composer-guitarists who are at the threshold of their artistic journey.  


When did the lightning bolt of composition hit you, or was it gradual?   What was the earliest
composition you can remember?

I started out as a folk/pop guitarist when I was 10, playing songs by other people at first, and around
the age of 15, I felt the natural inclination to write my own.  It wasn't until I was 17 that I wrote my first
"classical" piece.  My first pieces were quite ethereal.   I didn’t really know what I was doing.  Just as I
was mostly self-taught as a guitarist, I was mostly self-taught as composer.

Is there an Opus 1?

Yes, I labeled it op.1.  I numbered them until op. 4, and then I thought, “How pompous - opus
'whatever' should be labeled after we're dead".  But yes, there was an op. 1, and it ultimately found
its way into the Four Pieces I later wrote for you!  

And that time of growing-up was in L.A.?

Yes.

Did you study composition formally with anyone, who was it, and can you mention some ways in
which the teachings might have affected you positively, that we might even hear in these recordings?

The man I considered my musical mentor was Richard Winslow, who taught at Wesleyan University
in Connecticut.  I believe he is close to 90 years old this year.  He is a great man and an under-
recognized composer.  He especially influenced me by establishing a respect for craft that centered
around structure and system.  It might be the system of tonality or a system of randomness, as
demonstrated by his great friend, John Cage, or some other, but something specific.  I
supplemented my formal music education later on with private lessons from many different sorts of
musicians.  The composers were Virgil Thompson, David Del Tredici and Charles Turner.  Turner
was a protégé of Samuel Barber and a former violinist.  He was very helpful in the violin writing for
one of my early pieces, Dances in the Madhouse.  He also taught me to stick to my materials and
develop them well, to always have a sense of craft.  Virgil Thompson, who taught me only very
informally, was extremely kind and supportive, especially at a time when I didn’t have much support
in the music world as a composer.  Virgil was a great master of setting text to music, and in the
space of about an hour, he taught me more on this subject than most people can teach over years.  
David Del Tredici was someone I went to specifically for orchestration.  Besides being a great
composer, he is one of the best orchestrators of our day.  As an exercise, I arranged Dances in the
Madhouse, which was originally for violin and guitar, for full orchestra.  When I wrote my second
orchestral work, Embrace of Peace, I took that to him as well.  He has a phenomenal ear and was a
fountain of information and wisdom.

What do you require to write music?

I have to set everything aside, clear everything from my mind, any kind of worldly pressure such as
letters on my desk, e-mails that have to be sent, and appointments that have to be met.  Then I can
begin.  Often I’ll set out on long walks or take incredibly long showers, or any activity that becomes
automatic.  When you do these things after a while, your mind wanders, and that is where creativity
begins.  Even when I'm not composing, I’m constantly thinking about and gathering ideas for the
pieces I’m going to write.  If there is any life in those ideas, they can grow organically during this free
time.  Once a piece starts to take shape in my mind, and usually not before then, I sit down and
actually start to write.

Do you write with the guitar in hand?

Almost never.  If there is any instrument that I use it is the piano.  Unfortunately, I have zero skills as
a pianist, but the piano allows me to hear the sonorities.  The guitar has many different places you
can play the same note, and it is an awkward instrument in space. You have to think more to place a
note on the guitar, whereas on the piano they are laid out in a neat line and they are more easily
realized.  

And that goes for the guitar music as well?

Sometimes I compose with no instrument at all, which I find to be very freeing, while other times I
gravitate to the guitar, and even more often I go to the piano.  When the guitar pieces are written
away from the instrument or at the piano, then I do a lot of visualizing how those notes are going to
be played in both hands.

Can you give an example of a piece that is written that way?

The Sonata, Nel Mezzo, was mostly written away from the guitar.

Are you ever shocked when you play what you write away from the guitar?

The shock often happens not so much when I’m composing, but when the piece is done and
somebody plays the piece back to me.  There are sometimes moments when I wonder, what on
Earth was I thinking?

How about in Nel Mezzo where you play it yourself, what did you think about that?

That particular piece I would say had very few surprises.  Perhaps more than any piece I've written, I
felt virtually 100% present, emotionally and intellectually, the whole time I was composing it, which is
to say that I was conscious at almost every moment of what I was doing and why I was doing it.

Now to get back to the music on the CD, were those pieces written primarily in New York, in this
room?

Yes, I believe so.

So you are a New York composer in the sense that you don’t need to go to McDowell Colony or to
somebody’s beautiful house on the beach to meet the muses?

That's right. I have actually stayed away from applying to places like the MacDowell Colony because
I feel that I usually do my best work in the chaos of the city.  I love being in my studio, composing,
and then walking out into the City and getting lost in a sea of people, being in my own thoughts in
the midst of the gorgeous mess that is New York.  It inspires me.  

You have composed sonatas, passacaglia, a number of dances, songs, fantasies.  Form is very
important to you. Could you say a little more about the importance of form in your music?

Form is very important to me because I feel that if you hang the content of what you have to say on
some kind of form, whether it is an established form like a sonata, or a new form, or a form that you
may not quite be able to articulate, but can sense tangibly, then your piece is more enduring.  

What music in the guitar repertoire, given that you are a guitarist, has influenced any of the pieces
on these two records?

Villa-Lobos, certainly...

Can you say why?

Just the simple approach of taking one chord and repeating it up and down the neck, like in the
Sonata, that’s right out of Villa-Lobos.  There certainly were also a lot of popular guitarists and
singers that influenced me, particularly in the earlier compositions of the ‘80s.

And who specifically?

I would say James Taylor…

REALLY?

Yeah, he was a big influence.  I sang a lot of his songs.

I can’t believe the things that I’m learning!  Can you mention a song that particularly touched you?

"Fire and Rain", but most of his songs moved me.

Do you continue to listen to him?

Well occasionally.  I don’t listen to much music in general and very little popular music, but I love his
voice and his song-writing.  Joni Mitchell was another.

Was there a specific record or song that resonates with you?

That one is a little harder for me to pinpoint. Maybe it was the work as a whole.  Laura Nyro was
another, though not a guitarist - she was a pianist and singer - but her influence on me was quite
powerful.  Also, even though he wasn’t a tremendous influence, Richie Havens worked his way into
one piece, which is on the Cavatina Duo’s album - the trio, Extremes.  The strumming at the end of
the second movement is right out of Richie Havens.

Were the strumming and the rhythm of the last movement of your Sonata influenced at all by
Ginastera?

No, but there could have been an unconscious reference to Ginastera.  His Sonata was an important
piece to me, a sort of signature piece, and it probably did work its way in.  The music of Benjamin
Britten was extremely influential, and the Nocturnal was a piece that surely had its influence as well,
maybe not so much in terms of guitar writing, but in terms of musical language.   

Does your love for 19th Century guitar music consciously or subconsciously affect your writing?

No, I don’t think so.  There is one exception, the Billy Boy Variations, a solo piece on my Self Portrait
album.  It was written in 1983 and is a short encore piece.  I wrote it while I was on an Affiliate Artists
residency in West Virginia for the people there who were so different from me, mostly coal miners,
and whom I grew to love.  I chose an Appalachian folk song for them and intentionally set out to write
a set of variations in the style of Sor. But that was the only piece I ever wrote that, at least
consciously, had the 19th Century guitar influence.

How about just thinking aesthetically, or in terms of form…

Aesthetically, I would say yes. Not so much the guitar music, but 19th century music in general was
often concerned with setting up expectations and then breaking them.  That was something that I
wanted to do.  In some ways, I suppose, that was a conservative element of my music for many years
that I think I’m now breaking out of, to some extent.

Your music is often unabashedly tonal with a heavy bent toward chromaticism. Although you don’t
write exclusively tonal music, can you comment if you decide from the outset that the piece will be
tonal?

I don’t believe that I have ever written a piece that I consider to be atonal.  

There is that beautiful little piece that isn’t atonal, but it is wonderful on the flute and guitar record…

El Coco.  It's like all my music, as far as I know.  It has some sort of tonal attraction or tonal center.  It
is not necessarily the conventional functional tonality, but there is a tonal gravitation, I believe, in
everything that I have ever written.  I would say most of my pieces can be divided into either diatonic
or chromatic style, and most of them are chromatic, as you said.  The most recent music of mine has
gone further into chromaticism and more towards a gravitational tonality that the listener hopefully
senses on some level, so that when one comes back to the center, it feels like home.

Well there is a lot of that in Urto, the first movement of the Sonata.  You consciously are modulating
and one feels the sense of a tonal center.
 

Yeah, that's a piece where the tonal ground shifts constantly, usually by half step.  It's a type of
spiral form that shifts slowly away from the center, almost comes back near to the center, but keeps
moving away.

That’s very powerful.  Along the same lines, you sometimes avoid writing clearly defined melodies,
and yet you have written some gorgeous melodies like the Prelude of the Four Pieces.  What makes
a melody memorable to you in your own music? Do you think of climax, intervallic things, or is it all
instinct?

All of those things, I guess, are part of the process, but it's primarily intuitive.  There is a sense of
balance, which is important to me on all levels. A good melody should probably have a balance of
leaps with step-wise motion, and a good sense of direction.  The great teacher, Nadia Boulanger,
would ridicule compositions that she felt were poor by saying that "the notes went up, and then they
went down".  In a good melody, there's a gravitational pull where the notes seem to be going the way
they have to go, and what that is, I don’t think I could ever pinpoint.  Really, it has to be intuitive. A
song like Bernstein’s Maria, for instance - that tune just soars. Why it soars, I doubt anybody could
really analyze, least of all Bernstein himself.

Is there a composition on either one of these records that began as a melody?

Well, you mentioned the "Prelude" from the Four Pieces, and there's Nostalgia for flute or violin and
guitar.  But melody almost always is the kernel of a piece for me, even if it is a few notes.

Do you call those few notes melodies or motives?

They begin in my mind as melodies. They may become motivic, but they start as melodies.  In fact
the piece that you have right next to you on the piano is my newest solo guitar piece, and what you
see at the beginning of the manuscript is a simple melody.  There are just note heads without any
rhythmic value, and that is how the piece took shape.  I heard that as melody, a lullaby.  This melody
never actually expresses itself the way it is written at the beginning of the piece. The octaves are
displaced right from the start of the piece, and the melody becomes dispersed and fragmented,
except at the end where it returns, more like a lullaby.  

The D natural, I think, is wrong.  Well it’s not wrong; it’s just upsetting to me, aesthetically. (joking)

(laughs) Well you can change it, if you like.

Do you find that the guitar is a good melodic instrument or not?

Single-note melodies are awfully beautiful on the guitar.  It’s one of those things that the average
listener just craves to hear when they go to a guitar concert.

Yes, there is some Concerto by a Spanish man that has a second movement that people seem to
gravitate to, and also an Italian fellow that lived in Venice, who is dead, who also wrote a nice little
second movement.  So you like single-note melodies on the guitar, any others?

Well, with the guitar, the moment you strike the note, the sound begins to die.  So, unlike a wind or
bowed string instrument, the guitar is one of the worst instruments for sustain, which is necessary for
good melody.  The strength of the guitar, ironically, is its illusion of sustain. It is a strength similar to,
say, the implied counterpoint of the Bach solo suites.  

Have you ever felt any limitation in your writing in this sense, or do you find that if you want to write a
longer melody, it is more difficult on a guitar than it would be on another instrument?

Absolutely.  I would say that if I’m writing a melody for the guitar, especially if it is a long line, I would
have to make compromises and find ways of working around the problems of the instrument.  I've
always considered myself a musician first and a guitarist second, so when I write a piece, even if it's
for the guitar, I’m doing it as a composer, not as guitarist.  It's almost the same as writing for the flute
or the trumpet.  How to realize the musical idea becomes the challenge, and hopefully I can find
inventive ways around the instrumental problems.

After all these years of composing, do you find that there are certain intervals, scales, gestures or
chords that you consider great friends?  I know that you love the diminished chords; can you say
you have any other friends like that?

Yes, in chromatic melodies, I love slinky melodies that center around a note.  For example, going
from E-flat to D-flat to D. I love that kind of chromatic, slithery motion.  There’s something about it
that has a certain darkness and vulnerability that I like.  

In the third movement of Dances and the second and third movements of Acrobats, the flute
accompanies the guitar. Are there figures or gestures that you think work particularly well for a flute
when accompanying a guitar solo?

The flute, being an instrument that can easily overpower the guitar, has to be thinned out in some
way.  That might mean fewer notes per second, and maybe also pitches that are out of the way of
the range of the guitar.  

How conscious are you of not having the guitar be purely an accompanying instrument when
composing for the duo, because you always have these wonderful inventive guitar interludes?

I’m very conscious of that because of how many pieces there are in the guitar chamber music
repertoire that have very simple guitar accompaniments and how the guitarist can get bored.  Even if
the quality of the piece is very high, as say in some Paganini duos with violin, while the audience
loves to listen to that music, the guitarist doesn’t have a whole lot to do except be an astute
accompanist.  So I often try to give the guitarist something meaty to do, whether it's in the form of a
solo interlude or some accompaniment that might be intriguing or stimulating in some level.

When you write for soloists or for a duo, do you write for those performer’s strengths and
personalities in mind?

Yes, definitely.  Most of my pieces have been written on commission.  When someone commissions
a piece, the discipline of tailoring that piece to that person or people becomes a happy challenge for
the composer, because any form of limitation or rigor is creatively liberating.   Ideally, I want to
emphasize the strength of the players, but also challenge them.  

Dances in the Madhouse was inspired by a lithograph; Acrobats is extremely visual; a lot of you
music is visual.  To what degree has your love and extensive knowledge of the visual arts played in
your pieces, on these recordings and in general?

Well, since very early in my life, I have inexplicably heard music when I look at certain pieces of art.  
Dances, written 25 years ago, was the first time that that happened in an obvious way to me.  I was
in a museum in North Carolina, turned a corner, and saw this lithograph by George Bellows of a
dance taking place in an insane asylum, and within thirty seconds of looking at that piece, I started
to hear music.  There was something about the dramatic scenario that suggested music to me.  
Other times, there is a certain emotional feeling that I have looking at a work of art.  I might look at
an abstract painting, for example, and get a feeling from it that, for some reason, turns into a musical
something, whether it’s a melody, or a harmonic atmosphere, or a series of sounds.  It happens
completely unintentionally and keeps developing, as I'm looking at the piece.  The more I look at it,
the more I hear.  

Anything that you can think of in these recordings?

Sure, there are a couple of pieces. A lithograph by Goya was the springboard for the flute and guitar
piece, El Coco.

That’s a fantastic piece.  I love the interplay and the sparseness of the guitar part that you have
managed to match with the flute very well.

Thank you!  There were seven composers chosen for that commission. It was for the Millennium,
and we were all supposed to choose a particular work of art in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.  I
chose the Goya.  Dances in the Madhouse, of course, is another.

What about Acrobats?

That was inspired by a short story by Nathan Englander.

It is so visual!

I’m glad you think so.  I didn’t necessarily intend it that way, but the story behind it is very vivid.  The
piece basically takes off where the short story ends and is a musical depiction of emotional moments
in these people’s lives.  The story, called "The Tumblers", is about Jewish refugees during the
Holocaust who were supposed to be taken by train to the death camps, and by a stroke of luck, they
were boarded onto the wrong train of acrobats that were going to entertain the Nazi troops.  They
somehow had to pull their very disheveled selves together to pretend to be professional acrobats.  
These were people who were religious and very un-athletic.  It was an absurd situation that was both
horrifying and death-defying.  The story ends when they go out on stage in front of the Nazi troops.  
That tremendous moment of precariousness is where my piece begins and ultimately ends.

Wow!  The last four pieces of Self Portrait are based on American songs.  When you decide on a
song or a melody as the foundation of a work, do you have a process to begin the composition's
relationship to that song?

When I take those long walks, I’m thinking about the song as musical material and imagining what I
might do with it.  During this process, a shape might occur to me, or maybe a specific form.  In the
case of the three Freedom Fantasies, I thought that it would be interesting to use those Black
Spirituals in some sort of winding variation or fantasy form, free like in "Freedom", so I thought of
starting elsewhere and wandering back to the tune.  Eventually I came up with the form as written,
which puts the theme in different places in each of the pieces.  

In past conversations you have spoken to me about your love of certain styles of jazz. What style of
jazz do you love, given that the word jazz is kind of a ridiculous word, and do you find that it has
influenced you music at all, rhythmically or otherwise?

Very definitely it has.  I listened to jazz very early in my life.  When I was four years old, I was
listening to the records in my parents' collection of Duke Ellington and Count Basie at the same time
I was listening to the symphonies of Beethoven and Mozart, and I was equally fascinated by all of it.  
My love for that earlier jazz grew into my love later for more progressive jazz like the music of John
Coltrane, Sam Rivers, Charlie Mingus, Thelonius Monk, etc.  After a very intense period of listening
to this music in my late teens and early twenties, I grew away from it.  I have actually listened very
little to jazz in recent years, but it was absolutely essential to the early formation of my compositional
personality.  The "tripletizing" and angular rhythms of jazz opened up new possibilities for me, and I
loved the jarring quality of those "blue" notes.  

The third movement of Four Pieces, "Ritual", seems to tip its hat to Minimalism, and you have
transcribed Philip Glass' violin solo from Einstein on the Beach.  Can you speak briefly about
Minimalism and how it has affected your works or your outlook on composition?

Philip Glass certainly was an important influence later in my compositional life.  Another piece that is
very much related to that style, maybe even more than "Ritual", is the first movement of Trittico, for
flute, guitar, and cello.  Of the pieces on the two albums that have just been released, those are
probably the only ones that show that influence. But, in fact, my very recent music has inclined much
more towards Minimalism, and has become more and more spare, more about quietness and
attentiveness.

How has being a performer/interpreter influenced your writing?

I have always felt that musicians should practice both the creation and interpretation of music, that
one discipline influences the other in a positive way.  For instance, as a composer, the act of
performing helps you communicate what you understand about the music to the audience.  The
ability to communicate is essential for a composer.  And vice versa, as a performer, if you have
experience composing, you have the wonderful bird’s-eye view of music that a composer has - the
puppeteer's control over his marionettes.  That intimate knowledge of creating a piece of music from
scratch and putting it together can inform the performer as to how to go about interpreting that piece
from the inside, rather than as a foreigner from afar.  I believe that this dual experience is at the core
of making music, and I wish with all my heart that more people would do this.  

What would you tell a non-guitarist composer that you find so compelling about writing for the guitar?

I think the great challenge of writing for the guitar is in the area of illusion.  You are constantly
having to create illusion with the guitar, like sustain, volume, contrapuntal clarity, and connections
from one voice to another.  For a non-guitarist composer especially, it is extremely difficult to do, but
when it is accomplished successfully, it’s magical.

In closing, at this point in your life, can you reveal one or two compositional life truths that you bring
currently to your music?

In my early compositions, I was writing music that was simple (in content) with a vengeance, because
I was rebelling against the complexity that existed in the musical mainstream at the time.  Over the
years, as the mainstream trend has moved more toward simplicity, I have gravitated more toward
complexity, and that has evolved naturally.  I have learned to trust that organic process.  The more I
write, the more I know that I must leave myself open to surprise.  As much as I try to control the piece
with the craft of a good composer, I must eventually let the piece take control of me.  It is another
way of saying that once you give birth to a piece of music, there comes a point where you have to let
it lead its own life, and let it guide you as much as you guide it.



Cavatina Duo
interviewed by Benjamin Verdery

First, congratulations on your CD which is exquisite and masterfully played.  You must be one of the
great flute and guitar duos of all time!  There are several magical moments on this CD.  To do an
entire CD of any composer's music is a great tribute.  Can you comment on what aspect of David's
writing for your instruments you find compelling and successful?

We felt very honored to have this opportunity to record David's music.  For us his music is engaging
and entrancing, and those are essential elements we need to have in order to perform our best.  He
knows very well the possibilities of each of our instruments.  For obvious reasons he knows how to
write for the guitar, but he doesn't seem to have any boundaries with other instruments either.  He
uses the instruments to his advantage, demanding perhaps really high technical abilities but always
within reach, exploring the range of dynamics and colors through well- constructed melodic phrases.

Does David's music allow greater interpretive freedom than other living composers you've worked
with or whose music you've performed?  

David is usually very specific when it comes to the interpretation of his music, however, from the first
time we played his music it just felt natural to do it the way he asked.  It's like finding a great friend
you feel comfortable with.  I believe we like his music so much that there was little space, if any, for
thinking how it should sound ... it just flows.

To what degree did you work with the composer on this CD, and can you say if and why such a
collaboration was important for you?  

We were lucky enough to have him as a producer for most of the recording ( for the duos), and of
course that was really helpful.  For us it has been important to listen to his comments to bring out the
essence and soul of his music.  Like in every recording, we have tried to get the spirit to come
through on the CD.  If in this recording we have succeeded, it is, in part, because of his input and
inspiration.

You have performed Acrobats for 3 years.  What is it about the work that, although not written for
you, you have made your own and that you find so enduring? Do you tell the audience the
inspiration behind the work prior to performing it?

We believe that if the music is good, no matter if it is written for us or not, we will feel drawn to play it,
and that was the case with Acrobats. The first time we heard the piece we knew we wanted to play it
and have it in our repertoire.  For us, Acrobats is a "must" in the flute and guitar repertoire, like
Piazzolla's Histoire Du Tango or Takemitsu's Towards the Sea.  It's simply a fantastic piece of music.

We love talking during our performances.  When we play Acrobats it feels natural to tell where David
got the inspiration from.  It makes it more interesting for the audience and creates immediately a
comfortable and easy-going atmosphere, which is what we like to have when we perform.

Please share with us any anecdotes concerning the audience's reaction to any work you've
performed of David's, for example perhaps a comment from an audience member after a recital.

Acrobats is the piece that has brought the most comments from audiences. We had people coming
to tell us how much they felt the music was reaching them, when they could "feel the pain" inspired
specially by the second movement, "Flashback", and also they closed their eyes and saw the
acrobats "up in the air" while listening to the third movement. That is what is great about performing
good music, getting people inspired!

Thanks so much, and congratulations again on such an inspirational CD.




DAVID LEISNER - COMPOSITIONS WITH GUITAR

Published by Merion Music/Theodore Presser Company:

El Coco for flute and guitar, 1999
Nel Mezzo for solo guitar, 1998
Dances in the Madhouse for violin/flute and guitar, 1982
The Cat that Walked by Himself for four guitars, 1988
Mirage for two guitars, 1987
Sonata for violin and guitar, 1985
Nostalgia for violin/flute and guitar, 1985
Outdoor Shadows for high voice and guitar, 1985
Three Moons for cello and guitar, 1984
“Billy Boy” Variations for solo guitar, 1983
Passacaglia and Toccata for solo guitar, 1982

Published by Associated Music Publishers/G. Schirmer:

Simple Songs for medium voice and guitar, 1982

Published by Les Editions Doberman-Yppan:

Acrobats for flute and guitar, 2002
Roaming for three guitars, 1994
Freedom Fantasies for solo guitar, 1992
Heaven’s River for soprano and guitar,1991
Extremes for flute, clarinet and guitar, 1987
Trittico for flute/violin, cello and guitar, 1985
Yiddish Songs for medium voice and guitar, 1983

Published by Columbia Music Company:

Five Songs of Devotion for medium voice and guitar, 1989

Published by Frederick Harris Music:

Four Pieces for solo guitar, 1979, 1986

Works in Manuscript:

Disturbed, a Lullaby for solo guitar, 2006
Vision of Orpheus for guitar and string quartet, 2000
Confiding for high voice and guitar, 1985-86
“O Love is the Crooked Thing" for medium/low voice and guitar, 1980

DAVID LEISNER - COMPOSITIONS WITHOUT GUITAR

Bloom for string quartet, 2005
A Timeless Procession for baritone and string quartet, 2004
Chance Awakenings, soprano and piano, 2003
Of Darkness and Light for tenor, violin, oboe and piano, 2002
Fidelity for tenor/soprano, baritone and piano, 1996
Battlefield Requiem for solo cello and percussion quartet, 1995
Ode and Sunrise for solo voice and hand-clapping, 1994 and 1977/88
To Sleep for medium/low voice and piano, 1994
Clouds and Waves for young people’s chorus and string orchestra, 1993
The Survivor for medium voice and piano, 1993
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam for brass quintet, 1992
Embrace of Peace for orchestra, 1991
The Judgement of Paris (3 vocalises) for soprano and piano, 1990
On Jazz Terrain for flute, clarinet, alto saxophone and piano, 1990
Dances in the Madhouse, arranged for orchestra, 1989
Local Lives for voice and piano (9’), 1989
Candles in Mecca for violin, cello and piano, 1988


DAVID LEISNER - COMPOSITION DISCOGRAPHY


Acrobats (complete works for flute and guitar), Cavatina Duo, Cedille CDR 90000 096

Self-Portrait (complete works for solo guitar), David Leisner, Azica ACD 71236

"Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen" from Yiddish Songs, Catherine and Kevin Cooper, Doberman-Yppan DO
600

Outdoor Shadows, Olson/De Cari Duo, Talking Cat Records TCR 3709

Dances in the Madhouse, Virginia Taylor and Timothy Kain, ABC Classics 456 691-2

Dances in the Madhouse, Clayton Haslop and Jack Sanders, Centaur CRC 2061

Dances in the Madhouse, Harris-Coates Duo, Barking Dog BDR 2161

Dances in the Madhouse, Duo Essence, Capstone CPS 8738

Mirage, Gray and Pearl Duo, Dorian DOR 90230

Mirage, Folkwang Gitarren Duo, Signum SIG X70-00

Four Pieces, Benjamin Verdery, Newport Classic/Sony Classics NPD 85509

El Coco, Jan Bowland and John Dowdall, Fleur de Son FDS 57960

Three Moons, Villa-Lobos Duo, Acoustic Music 319.1155.242

Nostalgia, Clayton Haslop and Jack Sanders, Town Hall THCD 54

Sonata for violin and guitar, Arturo Delmoni and David Burgess, Athena/Sonora SACC 102


copyright ©2008 by Benjamin Verdery and David Leisner