Leanne Darling draws from her classical technique, her Arabic and jazz skills, and her
passion for improvisation to break the boundaries of traditional viola playing.
As a player of Arabic music, she has performed with Simon Shaheen and the Near
East Ensemble in Carnegie Hall, toured with the Sephardic/Moroccan group the Sultana
Ensemble, and performs and composes for the Near East River Ensemble, an Arabic
jazz ensemble based in Brooklyn. She composes and performs frequently for dance
and theater productions, including the Cedar Lake Modern Ballet Company and Storahtelling,
a Jewish ritual theater company.
When not performing, she teaches at IS 89 Middle
School, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, the Brooklyn Conservatory, and leads
classes in 'StringPlay', a curriculum she designed to teach improvisation to string
players of all ages.
She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the
Cleveland Institute of Music, and was formerly assistant principal viola of the
Florida West Coast Symphony and violist of the New Artists Piano Quartet.