David Leisner

David Leisner maintains a dual career as both guitarist and composer.

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About

Born and raised in Los Angeles, he moved to the East Coast in 1971 to attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where his composition teacher was Richard Winslow. He later worked privately with Virgil Thomson, Charles Turner and David Del Tredici. While his early musical interests involved folk/popular song, choral singing and choral conducting, his talent as a classical guitarist took prominence, and an international career ensued. Although composing was a part of his life since the age of 15, it did not take firmer hold until the period of 1984-96, when Leisner had focal dystonia, a debilitating hand condition that stopped his performance career in those years. During that time, his composition activities increased in amount, breadth and quality. After a remarkable self-induced recovery in 1996, his guitar-playing career successfully resumed, while maintaining consistent activity in composition. From his earliest song efforts in popular music until today, vocal music has played a central role in Leisner’s composition catalog.

While a number of his vocal works are with guitar (which he asserts is a natural and under-recognized combination), many are also with piano, as well as other instrumental combinations. For texts, he turns most often to American poets. Examples are: Confiding (Emily Dickinson, Elissa Ely, Gene Scaramellino and the British Emily Brontë), To Sleep (Elizabeth Bishop), Three James Tate Songs, Fidelity (May Sarton, Walt Whitman, Kenneth Patchen, William Meredith, Wendell Berry, Leslie Marmon Silko), Of Darkness and Light (Wendell Berry) for tenor, violin, oboe and piano, A Timeless Procession (Rosemary Thomas) for baritone and string quartet, Outdoor Shadows (Robert Francis), Simple Songs (Emily Dickinson) and West Wind (Mary Oliver). His songs have found favor with singers worldwide.

He has received composition grants from the American Music Center, the Alice M. Ditson Fund, the New England Foundation for the Arts and Meet the Composer. His works are published by Theodore Presser Co., G. Schirmer, Doberman-Yppan and Columbia Music.

–www.davidleisner.com

Related Information

Recordings

Crazy Jane

(George Crumb, David Leisner and John Musto)

2010

Olson/De Cari Duo: Quiet Songs

(David Leisner)

2006

Songs

A Drinking Song

David Leisner

William Butler Yeats

Song Collection: O Love is the Crooked Thing

A Timeless Procession

David Leisner

Rosemary Thomas

Ample make this Bed —

David Leisner

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Confiding

Anniversary Song

David Leisner

Wendell Berry

Song Collection: Fidelity

Are you the new person drawn toward me?

David Leisner

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Fidelity

Brown Penny

David Leisner

William Butler Yeats

Song Collection: O Love is the Crooked Thing

Chance Awakenings

Song Collection

David Leisner

William Meredith

Come with me

David Leisner

Mary Oliver

Song Collection: West Wind

Confiding

Song Collection

David Leisner

Emily Brontë

Emily Dickinson

Elissa Ely

Gene Scaramellino

Dark is as dark does

David Leisner

Mary Oliver

Song Collection: West Wind

Down by the Salley Gardens

David Leisner

William Butler Yeats

Song Collection: O Love is the Crooked Thing

Faith

David Leisner

Emily Brontë

Song Collection: Confiding

Fidelity

Song Collection

David Leisner

Wendell Berry

William Meredith

Kenneth Patchen

Leslie Marmon Silko

May Swenson

Walt Whitman

From an Island

David Leisner

James Tate

Song Collection: Three James Tate Songs

Heaven's River

Song Collection

David Leisner

Rabindranath Tagore

Homeward

David Leisner

Robert Francis

Song Collection: Outdoor Shadows

I Can't Speak for the Wind

David Leisner

James Tate

Song Collection: Three James Tate Songs

Light

David Leisner

Rabindranath Tagore

Song Collection: Heaven's River

Love and Friendship

David Leisner

Emily Brontë

Song Collection: Confiding

Lullaby

David Leisner

Leslie Marmon Silko

Song Collection: Fidelity

Moon, Sun, Sleep, Birds, Live

David Leisner

Kenneth Patchen

Song Collection: Fidelity

Never Again the Same

David Leisner

James Tate

Song Collection: Three James Tate Songs

Night birds

David Leisner

Mary Oliver

Song Collection: West Wind

O My Love the Pretty Towns

David Leisner

Kenneth Patchen

Song Collection: Fidelity

O Love is the Crooked Thing

Song Collection

David Leisner

William Butler Yeats

Of Darkness and Light

Song Collection

David Leisner

Wendell Berry

Our Forward Shadows

David Leisner

May Swenson

Song Collection: Fidelity

Outdoor Shadows

Song Collection

David Leisner

Robert Francis

Row for your life

David Leisner

Mary Oliver

Song Collection: West Wind

Savior! I've no one else to tell —

David Leisner

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Confiding

Seagulls

David Leisner

Robert Francis

Song Collection: Outdoor Shadows

Signal

David Leisner

Gene Scaramellino

Song Collection: Confidence

Simple Songs

Song Collection

David Leisner

Emily Dickinson

Sing a Song of Juniper

David Leisner

Robert Francis

Song Collection: Outdoor Shadows

Sleeping on the Ceiling

David Leisner

Elizabeth Bishop

Song Collection: To Sleep

Slow

David Leisner

Robert Francis

Song Collection: Outdoor Shadows

sometimes he contemplates adultery

David Leisner

William Meredith

Song Collection: Fidelity

Sonnet

David Leisner

Elizabeth Bishop

Song Collection: To Sleep

Star-Crossed

David Leisner

Elissa Ely

Song Collection: Confiding

This is my letter to the World

David Leisner

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Confiding

To Imagination

David Leisner

Emily Brontë

Song Collection: Confiding

To the Stream

David Leisner

Rabindranath Tagore

Song Collection: Heaven's River

The Boat

David Leisner

Rabindranath Tagore

Song Collection: Heaven's River

The Lady to Her Guitar

David Leisner

Emily Brontë

Song Collection: Confiding

The Two Trees

David Leisner

William Butler Yeats

Song Collection: O Love is the Crooked Thing

The Unbeliever

David Leisner

Elizabeth Bishop

Song Collection: To Sleep

The Wild Swans at Coole

David Leisner

William Butler Yeats

Song Collection: O Love is the Crooked Thing

Three James Tate Songs

Song Collection

David Leisner

James Tate

Tree Marriage

David Leisner

William Meredith

Song Collection: Fidelity

To Sleep

Song Collection

David Leisner

Elizabeth Bishop

West Wind

Song Collection

David Leisner

Mary Oliver

West Wind

David Leisner

Mary Oliver

Song Collection: West Wind

Wild Needle

David Leisner

Mary Oliver

Song Collection: West Wind

Wild Nights

David Leisner

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Confiding

Yes, What?

David Leisner

Robert Francis

Song Collection: Outdoor Shadows

Audio

Track:

    Sheet Music

    Heaven's River

    Composer(s): David Leisner

    Song(s): 1. The Boat
    2. Light
    3. To the Stream

    Buy via Dobermann-Yppan Music Publisher

    O Love Is The Crooked Thing

    Composer(s): David Leisner

    Song(s): 1. Down by the Salley Gardens
    2. The Two Trees
    3. A Drinking Song
    4. The Wild Swans at Coole
    5. Brown Penny

    Buy via the Theodore Presser Company

    Outdoor Shadows

    Composer(s): David Leisner

    Song(s): 1. Slow
    2. Homeward
    3. Yes, What?
    4. Seagulls
    5. Sing a Song of Juniper

    Buy via the Theodore Presser Company

    Simple Songs

    Composer(s): David Leisner

    Song(s): 1. Exultation
    2. Beauty
    3. Madness
    4. Letter
    5. Humility
    6. Simplicity

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

    Three James Tate Songs

    Composer(s): David Leisner

    Song(s): 1. I Can't Speak for the Wind
    2. Never Again the Same
    3. From an Island

    Voice Type: Medium

    Buy via the Theodore Presser Company

    To Sleep

    Composer(s): David Leisner

    Song(s): 1. Sleeping on the Ceiling
    2. The Unbeliever
    3. Sonnet

    Buy via the Theodore Presser Company

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