Sixteen year old Payton Lee has been studying violin since the age of 5. His musical journey began under the tutelage of Hye-Jin Kim, and in 2018-2019, he attended the Governors School for the Arts and Humanites to study with Jennifer John. He now attends Byrnes High School where he is focusing mainly on solo repertoire with instruction from Mary Irwin. Payton has had the privilege of attending festivals such as the Bob Jones Summer Music Camp, the East Carolina University Chamber Music Institute, and the National Youth Orchestra 2 program. This past year, Payton has had the privilege to serve as the assistant concertmaster of the Greenville County Youth Orchestra’s, Young Artist Orchestra. Payton has also had the privilege of serving as the concertmaster for the SC Region 1 orchestra multiple times.
For the summers of 2018 and 2019, Payton attended the Prestigious Carnegie Hall NYO2 (National Youth Orchestra) program that recognizes outstanding young instrumentalists from communities across the country on Full Scholarship. In the past, NYO2 has partnered with the New World Symphony located at the New World Symphony Center in Miami, along with the opportunity to perform in world famous Carnegie Hall. Payton was among a group of 80 young musicians selected from across the country for NYO2, a three-week, intensive summer orchestral training program for outstanding American instrumentalists ages 14–17. The members of NYO2 have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as exceptionally talented musicians who not only embody a very high level of artistry, but who also come from a wide range of backgrounds, representing a future for American orchestral music that includes communities which have often been underserved by and underrepresented in the field. Payton was one of twenty musicians who returned to NYO2 for multiple seasons. This high level national program has helped Payton move forward tremendously with his artistic training and professional plans. We welcome Payton as one of our guest soloists for our Greer audience.
Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, cellist Yuriy Leonovich immigrated to the United States with his family. His teachers include cellists Stephen Geber and Robert DeMaine, and composer James Hartway. Leonovich earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is a recipient of the Hope and Stanley Adelstein Prize for Excellence in Composition and Performance. Following his vision to expand the standard cello repertoire, Leonovich wrote his DMA research document on Gaspar Cassadó's cello concertos.
Dr. Leonovich is an active proponent of Eastern European music, new music, as well as rarely played music of the baroque and classical periods. He has collaborated with Kimbo Ishii-Eto in the Cleveland premiere of Khachaturian's Concerto-Rhapsody and with Gary Ciepluch in the Cleveland premiere of De Meij's Casanova. As an active recitalist, Leonovich frequently collaborates with his wife Kristin in the Upstate South Carolina community and throughout the Southeastern Unites States. He has performed with Daniil Trifonov and Elizabeth De Mio on many occasions.
His compositions and arrangements have been played in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia/Oceania by Massimo La Rosa, Brian Thornton, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, the Spirale Piano Trio, the New Zealand viola ensemble Viola Viva: The Next Generation, and others. His music, including the Rusalka Fantasie, has been recorded on the Five/Four Productions label. The Rusalka Fantasie has been performed internationally by various Cleveland Orchestra members, and is featured on Brian Thornton’s Kol Nidrei and Beyond: Lev's Story - a tribute to Lev Aronson. In 2006, Dr. Leonovich completed Tchaikovsky's unfinished Cello Concerto with the help of Brett Langston, who generously provided sketches and ideas for the piece. Leonovich has published his music with YL Editions, Ovation Press and Boma Brass. He is currently promoting the recently discovered Telemann Fantasias for viola da gamba in his transcription for cello solo, as well as researching 20th Century composers Alexander Jemnitz, Jerzy Fitelberg and Victoria Yagling.
Leonovich holds the Assistant Cello Professor position at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. His students have been accepted to the Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Memphis, Penn State, Columbus State, Appalachian State, among others. His students also participate at music festivals such as the National Repertory Orchestra, PRISMA Festival, MasterWorks Festival, the Tennessee Cello Workshop, and the South Carolina Cello Choir.
Dr. Leonovich plays on a cello made by Michael Koeberling in 2016 and a bow by Roger Zabinski, which Leonovich commissioned. This his second time joining the ranks of guest soloists with Foothills Philharmonic in Greer.
Foothills Philharmonic Orchestra
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