Leigh Stuart is a versatile cellist who thrives on performing music from a wide range of styles and genres. She has toured the U.S. extensively as a chamber musician, performing in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, the Library of Congress, the Lied Center of Kansas, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and countless others. She has recorded with Makoto Ozone and Paquito D’Rivera for the album Live and Let Live-Love for Japan, appeared with tap dancing virtuoso, Savion Glover, at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, songwriter, Sufjan Stevens, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Jay-Z, Beyonce, and The Roots at Radio City Music Hall.
Leigh is a founding member of the boundary-breaking new music group, Fireworks Ensemble, described as “adventurous and ahead of the curve” by the Washington Post and “musically fearless” by Time-Out New York. With Fireworks Ensemble, Leigh has premiered over one hundred new works by emerging and established composers, including a recent commission by Pulitzer-prize winning composer, David Del Tredici. This season the ensemble will release an album of selected instrumental chamber rock pieces by Frank Zappa for Universal Music Enterprises.
Leigh greatly enjoys playing for musical theater productions and most recently has performed in Broadway’s revival of Miss Saigon, the acclaimed Off Broadway revival of Carmen Jones, and The New Group’s Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage. As a classical cellist and long-time member of Chamber Orchestra of New York, Leigh appears regularly at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, The Morgan Library, and Merkin Hall. She has also recorded for Naxos Records multiple times with the orchestra.
In post-CoVid 2020, the Unison Orchestra invited Leigh, along with musicians from major orchestras around the world (NY Phil, LA Phil, MET, Royal Opera House) to record remotely for Season 1 of HBO’s Lovecraft Country. They were the first virtual orchestra to record for an entire season of a television series. Leigh also recently joined the roster of The Resonance Collective, a strings ensemble that merges new classical music with chamber jazz with a mission to bring wider recognition to this under-recognized genre. The RC has performed with Kurt Elling at Jazz at Lincoln Center and also with the internationally acclaimed jazz violinist, Mateusz Smoczyński.
As a member of the Brooklyn-based, acoustic, ambient ensemble, Bing and Ruth, Leigh recorded multiple albums for RVNG Intl. and performed for the Wordless Music Festival, the MATA Festival, and the Big Ears Festival. She has also collaborated with numerous other artists from a vast range of media, including the electronic duo, Matmos, songwriters, Fran Healy (lead singer of Travis), Lia Ices, Marty Wilson Piper (lead singer of The Church), and Shara Worden (lead singer of My Brightest Diamond), progressive rock band, The Mahavishnu Project, Brooklyn-based indie band, Oneida, multi-media dance company, Troika Ranch, and choreographer, Yoshiko Chuma (The School of Hard Knocks).
In addition, Leigh has recorded for Capital Records, Cuneiform, E1, Rough Trade, and for the soundtracks of the PBS documentary, No Job for a Woman (2011), and feature films, Festival of Lights (2010) and Heterosexuals (2010). She also recorded Faure’s Elegy for an episode of the internationally broadcasted show, Law and Order: SVU and has since appeared as a cellist in Mozart In The Jungle, dramas on CBS, NBC, in a music video for British pop star, Lucie Silvas, and in the Warner Brothers film August Rush.
Originally from Southwestern Connecticut, Leigh began her cello studies at the age of nine. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Hartt School as a student of Steven Thomas and David Wells and her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music as a student of David Geber. A dedicated teaching artist, Leigh is on the cello faculty of the Diller-Quaile School.