Cellist Leanne Zacharias’ approach to musical life has been compared to extreme sport— from soloist to collaborating across genres with choreographers, writers, architects, visual artists and musicians of all stripes, she has emerged with a uniquely vibrant and contemporary voice.

A versatile performer, she has been artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for Arts, San Francisco’s Odyssey Works and Sweden’s Elucian Ensemble, apprentice with Montreal’s Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and shared stages with the Houston Symphon Orchestra, Toronto’s Aradia Ensemble, the Hylozoists,Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Boundary Ensemble, Toca Loca, Whitehorse’s Longest Night Ensemble, Wiretap’s Jonathan Goldstein, the Miro Quartet, Edgar Meyer and the Weakerthans. With longtime cohort, songwriter Christine Fellows, she has toured the continent and contributed to original music for video, modern dance, five albums on Six Shooter Records and the Winnipeg Arts Council-sponsored Reliquary performance project. She is also on the artistic direction team of the Brandon Chamber Players.

A strong advocate for the new, Dr. Zacharias has premiered dozens of compositions, commissioned several handfuls, and worked with leading composers including Arvo Part, Krystof Penderecki, Joan Tower, John Adams and George Tsontakis. She also curates Music for Spaces, a site-specific performance project with installations presented at the Cohen New Works Festival, Orford’s Sound Art Workshop, Germany’s Intersymp 2008 and New York City’s AMP Music Series to great acclaim. Other collaborative projects include gallery installation at the Sutherland Gallery of Art, Austin’s Creative Research Lab and a premiere at the Big Range Dance Festival. She served as composition/performance chair of Austin’s Gamma-UT musicology conference, and performance chair of the IIAS Arts + Humanities Sessions in Baden-Baden, Germany. Recordings have beenbroadcast across CBCRadio, NPR and BRAVO.

Originally from Morden, Manitoba, she studied with Arek Tesarczyk and Paul Marleyn at the University of Manitoba before receiving a Masters Degree from Rice University as a student of Desmond Hoebig. She received her Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, where her interdisciplinary performance research was supported by the Getty Foundation, a Roberts Endowed Presidential Scholarship, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Amati Foundation and a prestigious Graduate Continuing Fellowship. While there, she was a company member of the American Repertory Ensemble, the Movable Feast performance collective, and worked closely with Josh Gindele of the Miro Quartet, composer Dan Welcher and musicologist Phil Ford.

Dr. Zacharias has been Brandon University’s cello professor and orchestral director since 2008, where she also teaches Aural Skills and Chamber Music. An energetic teacher, she is popular as a guest lecturer and adjudicator. Since returning to Canada, she has performed in the Agassiz, Ottawa and Ritornello Chamber Music Festivals, Nuna (now), X-Avant and BU New Music Festivals. Other collaborations have resulted in work with visual artists Shary Boyle and Ben Davis, poet Di Brandt, performance artists Jaclyn Pryor and Abe Burickson, sound artist Steve Bates, the Mountain Goats, John K. Samson and Regina’s Boundary Ensemble. She also spearheaded the newly-formed Correction Line Ensemble, melding narrative songwriting with contemporary chamber music.

She recently appeared as a featured performer in the International Cello Festival of Canada, across Canada with Christine Fellows, at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and in residency at the Banff Arts Centre as part of the first-ever Banff Research in Culture workshop. Upcoming performances include the Boundary Ensemble, Nicole Lizee’s SaskPower, and Winnipeg’s Groundswell new music series.


Leanne’s Set at Fast Forward Austin 2012:

1. Etude Borealis #1  -John Cage

2. Event Horizon  -Nicole Lizee (arr. Leanne Zacharias)

3. Pizzicato Etude  -Eugene Friesen

4. Etude Borealis #4  -John Cage

Leanne Zacharias, cello

Katherine Hodges, dancer/choreographer