“Recommended with pleasure.” Fanfare magazine review of Leon Bates’ recording for Naxos of piano works by George Gershwin and Chick Corea.
A native of Philadelphia, Leon Bates began his formal study of music at the age of six on both piano and violin. His talent was recognised and he was groomed for a concert career. Irene Beck gave him his early training at the Settlement Music School and his advanced study was under Natalie Hinderas at the Temple University Esther Boyer College of Music.
In addition to a full concert schedule, Bates is often called upon to give masterclasses. He is a favourite on college campuses because of his broad interests outside classical music. He enjoys all the performing arts including dance, theatre and most types of music. Leon Bates is also a sports enthusiast and disciplined bodybuilder, which he feels aids his playing ability. Recently he has begun composing and finds great satisfaction in this aspect of music making.
Leon Bates has performed with the symphonies of Indianapolis, Oregon, Florida, Rochester, Dallas, Hartford, Baton Rouge, Omaha, Louisville, Winston-Salem, the Orchestra of Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano in Italy and the Malmo Symphony of Sweden. He has appeared with the Battle Creek Symphony and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra in connection with the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Michigan. He has also performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Italian Symphony Orchestra of Bergamo on its US tour, which included a concert at Carnegie Hall. In addition to recitals and residencies from coast to coast in the USA, he has travelled to perform at Rome’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia and in South Africa.
Leon Bates has been invited to appear with the Atlanta and Tucson Symphonies, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2001 celebrations and in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus. Popular at summer festivals, he has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Chicago’s Grant Park, the Lake Tahoe Festival and at the Mann Music Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Bates also periodically performs on summer tours with the Boston Pops.