BIOGRAPHY - Leslie's Musical Journey
Described by Toronto Concert Reviews as "a mature artist and a budding superstar. She wowed the sold-out audience with her virtuosic playing and her deeply soulful musicianship" Leslie Ashworth is a passionate Canadian violinist and composer. Leslie is currently pursuing her Masters of Music with Mr. Paul Kantor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas as a recipient of the The Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship in Violin. Leslie graduated with her Bachelor of Music Performance in May 2019 as the Tim & Frances Price full scholarship student of Mr. Barry Shiffman and Mr. Paul Kantor at the Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto. Upon graduating, she was awarded the Sir Edmund Walker Foundation scholarship from The Glenn Gould School to support her graduate studies abroad.
Achieving the Royal Conservatory's National Gold Medal for ARCT Viola Performance, Leslie has earned ARCT Performance Diplomas in Violin, Viola, and Piano. She studied the piano for 15 years, including studies under Mrs. Dianne Werner, and studied the viola with Mr. Eric Nowlin. For eight years prior to beginning her Bachelor of Music studies, Leslie was a scholarship student in the Phil & Eli Taylor Academy for Young Artists, RCM and previously studied with Alec Hou.
Leslie has performed with numerous orchestras across Canada and in celebrated venues such as Carnegie Hall, Koerner Hall, Vancouver Convention Centre, and Rolston Hall in the Banff Centre. She has performed for audiences in Canada, the United States, France, and Italy. She is also the winner of the Grand Prize in the Canadian Music Competition and gold medalist of the ‘Passion of Music’ International Competition in New York City. She has appeared on Toronto’s Classical 96.3FM and Classical 94.5 Buffalo WNED’s ‘Young Performers’ radio program. Leslie has also earned her ARCT (RCM) Performance in Violin, Viola, and Piano.
Leslie has participated in summer music festivals including the Zodiac Music Festival (2019), International Music Festival of the Adriatic (2018), Domaine Forget (2018), Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (2017), Boris Brott Music Festival's National Academy Orchestra (2017), Strings Masterclass Program at the Banff Centre (2013-2016), Aspen Music Festival & School (2014), the Summit Music Festival in New York (2013), the National Arts Centre's Summer Music Institute Young Artist Program (2012), the Ceiliedh School of Music in Cape Breton Island (2011), and the Toronto Summer Music Festival (2010). She has performed in masterclasses of renowned artists including Miriam Fried, Steven Tenenbom, Roberto Diaz, Steven Dann, Donald Weilerstein, Glenn Dicterow, Ilya Kaler, James Ehnes, and Leon Fleisher.
In addition to her classical studies in violin, viola and piano, Leslie enjoys studying and playing jazz piano. She has also studied Celtic fiddling, in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. As well, she loves playing chamber music with her colleagues and mentors. Composing is another of Leslie’s favourite ways of expressing herself, creating over 30 original pieces.
Producing two CDs with a portion of the proceeds going to Free The Children, Leslie is actively involved with numerous fundraisers, many of which support local musical initiatives with a special connection to children.
Leslie is the Founder and Director of the Suite Melody Care program (www.suitemelodycare.com) 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.
Leslie currently plays on a 1696 Albani violin on loan from a generous benefactor and a 18th Century Anonymous Bohemian viola on loan to her from a generous benefactor.
Leslie also gratefully acknowledges the Banff Centre for their previous loan of the 1779 Odoardi violin, Mr. Michael Remenyi at Remenyi House of Music for his generous loan of a 1902 Remenyi violin, and the Royal Conservatory of Music for their generous loan of a 1670 Amati violin.
Leslie always loves to welcome new students of all ages and skill levels to her teaching studio. Leslie is a violin, viola, piano, music theory, and music history teacher at the Oakville School of Music and Performing Arts.