Leigh Harrold enjoys a reputation as a “musician of rare talent and intelligence”, and is one of Australia’s busiest and most sought-after pianists since being named The Advertiser ‘2008 Musician of the Year’.
Born in Whyalla, South Australia, Leigh completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies at The University of Adelaide with concert pianist Gil Sullivan. During this time he had many successes, including being a National Finalist in the Young Performer Awards and a recipient of the prestigious Beta Sigma Phi Classical Music Award – the conservatorium’s highest honour. He moved to Melbourne in 2003 to take up a full scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) under the mentorship of Geoffrey Tozer and in 2004 was made the Academy Fellow - the first person in the institution's history to be chosen as such after just one year of study.
Leigh has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Africa and Australia as both soloist and chamber musician, including concerts at Australia House in London, the Royal Academy of Music, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Harare International Festival of Arts, and concerto engagements with many Australian orchestras. In 2007 he undertook an extensive tour of the United States and Canada where he gave lectures on and performed the solo piano music of the American composer Robert Muczynski. He has just returned from a lecture-tour of England, talking about and performing Australian piano music at Trinity College and the University of London.
His international reputation as an associate artist has led to collaborations with such luminaries as Thomas Reibl, lecturer in viola at the Salzburg Mozarteum; Michael Cox, principal flautist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Daniel Gaede, ex-concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; London flautist Wissam Boustany; New York violinist Charles Castleman; Swedish cellist Mats Lidstrom; and British pianist Mark Gasser, to name just a few. Other significant international collaborations have included performance and studies with Andrew Ball at the London Royal College of Music; Sophie Cherrier at the Paris Conservatoire; New York-based pianist Lisa Moore and English composer Peter Maxwell Davies. In June 2002, Leigh traveled to the Orkney Islands to perform a concert of Maxwell Davies' works in the presence of the composer.
Leigh is a founding member of the Kegelstatt Ensemble and the Helpmann Award nominated Syzygy Ensemble – both winners of major national prizes - and has an internationally acclaimed piano duo with London-based pianist Coady Green with whom he regularly tours through Europe, Australia and Africa. He is a recording artist for ABC Classics and in 2010 released his debut recording for Sony with soprano Greta Bradman. Most recently, he won first prize in the 2014 Mietta Song Competition for most outstanding pianist.
An enthusiastic and committed teacher and speaker, Leigh is regularly invited to tutor and lecture at many institutions, adjudicate many competitions, and has given many masterclasses around Australia, Africa, the USA and the UK, as well as regular pre- and post-concert talks for the Melbourne Recital Centre. He is currently on the Faculty at ANAM, and performs regularly as orchestral pianist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In April 2012 Leigh was awarded a PhD for his research into the music of Robert Muczynski for which he received a Dean's Commendation for Theseis Excellence. Additionally, he holds two University medals - one for Music and one for Applied Science.
When not seated in front of a piano, Leigh finds time to go on long walks, practise yoga, read voraciously, write musical articles and programme notes, and drink lots of coffee.