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Cheryl Leonard

Back in 2018, OM initiated its newest program Latitudes, a concert series featuring a contingent of underground composers and performers from around the globe whose work falls between the cracks of avant-garde and popular forms. Artists ranging from the Bay Area’s explosive electronics and percussion duo I.M.A., the ecstatic psytrance of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, and the infinite boogie of Tetuzi Akiyama all brought their singular visions to San Francisco’s Center for New Music for intimate and divergent performances.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took shape, the Latitudes series was recast as a video series featuring site-specific performances and long-form interviews with the artists. In January 2021, as the weather oscillated wildly between seaborne squalls and dazzling rainbows, composer/instrument-builder/performer Cheryl Leonard led Latitudes curator and OM Associate Director, Blaine Todd, deep into the Marin Headlands with OM’s production crew to discuss a range of topics and perform two works written for the unique topography and psycho-social history of this distinctive region.

Be sure to check out Leonard’s new OM Records release Antarctica: Music from the Ice—a record 14 years in the making and featuring the uncanny soundscape of our southernmost continent.

OM would like to extend its sincere thanks to Chris Allick whose support has made the Latitudes video series possible.

Artist Bio

Cheryl Leonard

Cheryl Leonard field recording on a boat in icy water

Cheryl E. Leonard is a composer, performer, and instrument builder whose works investigate natural sites and ecosystems, and human relationships to them. Her projects cultivate stones, wood, water, ice, sand, shells, feathers, and bones as musical instruments, and feature one-of-a-kind sculptural instruments and field recordings from remote locals. She uses microphones and amplification to explore subtle intricacies of sounds and develops compositions that highlight unique voices and soundscapes while addressing environmental issues such as climate change and extinction of species. Her musical research has taken her to wilderness areas around the world, including Antarctica and the Arctic.

Born June 3, 1969, in Potsdam, NY, Leonard grew up in Wisconsin, then earned a BA from Hampshire College and an MA from Mills College, both in music composition. Her works have been presented in concerts and art exhibitions in the Americas, Europe, Japan, and Australasia. Commissions include pieces for Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Funsch Dance. Leonard has been awarded grants from New Music USA, American Composers Forum, and American Music Center, among others.

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