Biography

Dr. Leslie Downs is active as both a solo and a collaborative pianist. As a soloist, he has played recitals in the New York City area as well as in Connecticut, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. He has also appeared as a soloist with several orchestras in Louisiana and Texas. As a collaborative artist, he has performed in lieder, chamber, and choral concerts across the United States and in Canada, playing a wide variety of repertoire.

A versatile artist, Dr. Downs enjoys playing many styles of music. His affinity for Spanish piano music led to an extensive study of the dances of Spain for his dissertation, Spanish Dances and the Piano Music of Albéniz, Granados, Falla, Turina, and Mompou. He also enjoys playing musical theatre repertoire and sacred music.

For 16 years he worked as a freelance pianist/teacher/vocal coach in New York City. While there, he served as principal accompanist for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus for six seasons. He has worked with several well-known performers, including Faith Esham, Sondra Radvanovsky, Kristin Chenoweth, and B.D. Wong. He has taught piano students of all levels, both privately and for several afterschool programs. He has also served as musical director for musical theatre productions in Shreveport, Louisiana, at Public School 41 in New York City, and at the Sooner Theatre in Norman, Oklahoma.

He received his Doctor of Music Arts in Piano Performance degree from the University of Oklahoma.  He also holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from Yale University and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Centenary College of Louisiana. His principal teachers were Constance Carroll, Donald Currier, Katherine Teves, Elizabeth Child, and Edward Gates.

He currently serves as the Music Director for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville.  He also maintains a private piano studio.

Dr. Downs has recorded for DRG.

He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.