Concert pianist Leslie Amper presents "Creativity in Hard Times: The Federal Music Project of the 1930’s,” a multi-media piano recital telling the story of President Roosevelt's Arts Initiative. The performance includes images, historic recordings, commentary and traditional piano performance of music by William Grant Still, Ernest Bloch, Henry Cowell, Roger Sessions, Ruth Crawford, and Aaron Copland.
Leslie Amper began her career with a critically acclaimed New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall. She went on to delight audiences in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco as well as at Monadnock Musicʼs Virtuoso Piano Series. A member of New Hampshire Music Festival, she is a frequent participant in Boston's Emmanuel Music solo and chamber music celebrations.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Amper took full advantage of a program then current in that city’s schools, through which serious high school musicians were allowed to forego classes for a few hours each day in order have adequate practice time and to take advantage of performance opportunities. She spent her high school summers at the Interlochen Music Camp and the Aspen Music Festival. After two years at Oberlin College, she continued her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music with Rudolph Kolisch, Gunther Schuller, and Russell Sherman. While at the conservatory, she won the first annual Jordan Hall Honors Competition and played Prokofievʼs Piano Concerto No. 3 at the graduation ceremonies.
An acknowledged scholar and practitioner of contemporary music, Amper has recorded Andrew Imbrieʼs Short Story for Neuma Records which was chosen for the international radio broadcast, Art of the States. Equally adept at accompanying silent film, she has compiled piano accompaniments at the Harvard Film Archives for the short films of Georges Méliès and King Vidor’s The Crowd, among others. As a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts solo recitalist grant, she presented Messiaenʼs monumental Vingt Regards sur lʼenfant Jésus in Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. Other performances include the musical component for the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition 1934: A New Deal for Artist which toured the United States and the onstage piano performances in Peter Sellars’ production of Chekhov’s A Seagull at the American National Theater.
Currently teaching at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, the New England Conservatory Preparatory Department, and Wheaton College, Leslie Amper has lectured at Boston University, Currier House of Harvard University, and the University of Pittsburgh as well as at the New Hampshire Music Festival, where she is a regular performer.