Demirjian opened the evening with a work dripping with drive, momentum, and energy, Jonathan Leshnoff’s 2008 work, Starburst. Thanks to a remarkable orchestration that pulses with life, the work has moments of punctuation, moments of flowing rhythm, and moments of sonic surprise that inevitably force the listener into a state of optimistic elation.
— Arts Knoxville
At 20 minutes, Leshnoff’s Violin Concerto No. 2 is a nearly perfect marriage of form and content, with an unfailingly palatable harmonic and melodic language.
— Texas Classical Review
The world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s “Rogue Sparks” was a beautiful and exciting piece that engaged every instrument of the orchestra. Just five minutes in length, the music conjured color, sparks and flames of fire brilliant against the night sky.
— Mail Tribune
The violinist [Gil Shaham] invested soul and phenomenal technique in Jonathan Leshnoff’s heartfelt and generously communicative Chamber Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. It was an enormously worthwhile two-part piece, the first slow and contemplative, the second exuberant and dancelike. Leshnoff’s music combined a freshness and crowd-pleasing consonance with unexpected turns of melodic and harmonic direction.
— The Aspen Times

Jonathan Leshnoff, composer

Distinguished by The New York Times as “a leader of contemporary American lyricism”, composer Jonathan Leshnoff attracts audiences with his music’s gripping embrace of tonality. His compositions have earned international acclaim for their striking harmonies, structural complexity, and powerful themes.

The Baltimore-based composer’s works have been performed by more than 60 orchestras worldwide in hundreds of orchestral concerts, He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, and orchestras including the Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, and Nashville Symphonies, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the IRIS and Philadelphia Orchestras. Leshnoff’s compositions have been performed by classical music’s most celebrated stars, such as Gil and Orli Shaham, Roberto Díaz, and Manuel Barrueco, and have been conducted and embraced by esteemed music directors including Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Robert Spano, and Michael Stern.

Leshnoff has been ranked among the most performed living composers by American orchestras in recent seasons, and upcoming seasons are comparably active with musical activity and collaborations. Highlights for the 2018-19 season include the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s premiere of Leshnoff’s Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's premiere of Leshnoff's Suite for Cello, Strings, and Timpani featuring the eminent cellist Johannes Moser, and the start of a multi-year residency with the Fairfax Symphony. Orchestras from the Knoxville Symphony to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic also perform works from Leshnoff’s robust ouevre.

Leshnoff has released four albums to date, all on the Naxos American Classics label. Featured recordings include his Violin Concerto No. 1 with Charles Wetherbee and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, selected among Naxos’ Top 40 CDs the year of its release; and his Symphony No. 1, conducted by Michael Stern with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra along with Leshnoff’s chamber music. An all-Leshnoff recording of the Atlanta Symphony performing Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 2 and Zohar oratorio was released in November 2016. In December 2017, the recent band arrangement of Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concertowas featured with Philadelphia Orchestra principal Ricardo Morales in a recording with the United States Marine Band. A new all-Leshnoff release is expected in early 2019, with the Nashville Symphony performing his Guitar Concerto with Jason Vieaux, and his recently premiered Symphony No. 4.

Celebrated by Fanfare magazine as “the real thing”, Leshnoff’s music has been lauded by Strings magazine as “distinct from anything else that’s out there” and by the Baltimore Sun as “remarkably assured, cohesively constructed and radiantly lyrical”. Leshnoff’s catalog is vast, including several symphonies and oratorios in addition to numerous concerti, solo, and chamber works. Leshnoff is a Professor of Music at Towson University.

A look into Leshnoff’s orchestral overture “Rogue Sparks,” written for the Rogue Valley Symphony’s 50th Anniversary

Excerpt from Jonathan Leshnoff's Starburst recorded in rehearsal for the Kansas City Symphony’s 2017-18 Season Classics Uncorked: Future Favorites concert on 9/26/17

Leshnoff's Symphony No. 3, commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I.