Leanne Zacharias is a dynamic cellist, educator and interdisciplinary artist known for innovative collaborations with artists of all stripes, across genres and geographies. Her project Music for Spaces re-imagines concerts, public and natural space with sound, and recent work includes an immersive soundscape filling the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as part of the Winnipeg Symphony New Music Festival, CityWide: simultaneous recitals by 50 cellists presented by the International Cello Festival of Canada and Sonus Loci: a sound installation on ice, selected by Winnipeg’s 2013 Warming Huts Art & Architecture competition in collaboration with Stantec Architecture. Sound recordings include of Rand Steiger’s Elusive Peace for drumset and cello with Ben Reimer on New World Records, the Australian Art Orchestra, percussionist Eric Platz, songwriter John K. Samson and The Mountain Goats. She has performed and recorded extensively with longtime ally, songwriter Christine Fellows, at venues across North America and an appearance at the 2013 Venice Biennale in support of artist Shary Boyle, presented by the National Gallery of Canada. She received a ‘Best Performer’ nomination from the Austin Critics’ Circle for Concerto Laguna, in which she played from a rowboat in Travis Weller’s site-specific work presented by the Austin Museum of Art. She has been a featured artist internationally, including as concerto soloist with the Orfix Symphony in Xalapa, Mexico, London’s Open Ears new music festival, and the Fast Forward Austin new music festival. Based in Manitoba, she performs and teaches widely across Canada, Once a contracted member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, she has performed with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Group of 27 Orchestra in Toronto, Regina Symphony and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She has served as guest adjudicator and clinician with the Con Brio Music Festival in Whistler, Regina Music Festival, Saskatoon Strings, Pembina Valley Strings, Alberta and Saskatchewan Provincial Music Competition and Winnipeg Youth Symphony Orchestra. She spearheaded the Correction Line Ensemble, blending narrative songwriting with contemporary chamber music, and appears with an array of ensembles and venues: the Boundary Ensemble, Groundswell, Emerado, Nicole Lizee’s SaskPower, Toca Loca, Global Cabaret Festival, X-Avant New Music Festival and Ottawa Chamber Music Festival to name a few. She participated in the inaugural Banff Research in Culture workshop (Bric) at the Banff Centre for Arts; On-The-Commons, and presented her work at conferences internationally including Timeforms at McGill University, Project Anywhere at Parsons New School for Art and Design (NYC), the IIAS Art & Science Conference (Baden-Baden, Germany) and Music and the Environment at the University of Waterloo. She has twice been invited to speak in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s 10x20x20 lecture series, is an ongoing contributor to the interdisciplinary collaborative project Odyssey Works, and has participated in artist residencies at the Banff Centre’s Leighton Artist Colony, Channel Surf (with the Department of Biological Flow), the Churchill Northern Studies Centre and Nes International Residency in Iceland, thanks to grant support from the Manitoba Arts Council.
Associate Professor at the Brandon University School of Music, she teaches across a range of areas including cello, contemporary performance practice, arts administration, chamber music, pedagogy and orchestral performance. She is co-curator of the Wheat City Nuit Blanche and a member of the Institute of Research in Music and Community. She has been on cello faculty of the Domaine Forget International Music Academy in Quebec, Prairie Cello Institute, Cadenza Music Week and Rosamunde Summer Academy. Leanne co-directs two unique summer workshops: A Wild Studio: Excursions in Art, Sound and Performance took place in Grasslands National Park in 2017 and Riding Mountain National Park in 2016/19, in a collaboration with Dr. Megan Smith of the University of Regina Faculty of Media, Art and Performance. A new interdisciplinary performance workshop Hybrid Intensive, co-directed with Abraham Burickson of Odyssey Works, takes place in San Francisco. She has been on the board of the Manitoba Arts Council, and is currently a juror on the distinguished Warming Huts Art and Architecture Competition based in Winnipeg.
Recent appearances include as guest curator of Not Seeing Is A Flower, premiering Nicole Lizee’s new cello concerto presented by the Groundswell new music series at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Listening In with the Austin New Music Coop, Pressure Waves New Music Workshop, Portal Zero (conceived by architect Rick Derksen) at the WSO New Music Festival and the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival, where Leanne presented Listening Booth: twenty solo recitals for one audience member at a time. She was also a featured artist in Taken, with the Camerata Nova choir, presented by the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, as part of Canada Scene, a massive Canada150 event. She contributed a new score to the Coalescence project of artist Michael Belmore and curator Natalia Lebedinskaia, commissioned as part of LandMarks2017, a signature event of Canada150. Her first solo recording, produced with Paul Aucoin in unique, off-grid sites across rural Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, was released in June 2021, featuring modern solo works performed on her 1820’s Parisian Couterieux cello.
Leanne obtained her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Manitoba. Primary teachers include Desmond Hoebig, Joshua Gindele and Paul Marleyn. She has received grant awards from the Canada Council for Arts, Manitoba Arts Council, Winnipeg Arts Council, the Amati Foundation, among many others.