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Michelle Leonard is the founding artistic director and conductor of the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, the Moorambilla Voices Regional Children’s Choirs and Festival Director of the Moorambilla Festival.
As a board member of the Music Council of Australia and new national choral mentor for the Music in Communities Network, she is actively involved in advocating for choirs through articles, presentations and workshops. She is widely sought after as a choral clinician and Eistedford Adjudicator and is currently professional in residence at the MLC school Burwood mentoring their choral conductors.
She has extensive experience conducting and commissioning major choral works within the context of innovative programming, notably with new Australian compositions. Recent concerts with traditional works have included Handels Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Haydn’s Nelson and Heilgemesse, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and major works by Gerard Brophy, Christopher Gordon, Andrew Schultz, Dan Walker and Luke Byrne.
In 2008 the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus was the inaugural winner of the National Music in Communities outreach award in recognition of their contribution to their community and communities in western NSW through touring, their extensive commissioning program of new Australian works, and commitment to working with leading professionals in performance.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Music (Education) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a Masters in Communication from UTS. She has recently completed the 2010 summer school at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, particularly to look at new innovations in body percussion, movement and pedagogical approaches to choral rehearsals.
Michelle is a past assistant conductor of Sydney Children’s Choir and was conductor in residence for Junior Gondwana choir at the 2008 National Choral School. Michelle was recently Choir Master for the Festival of Sydney’s Lost and Found Orchestra and also for the 2010 Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Michelle conducted the inaugural Moorambilla Voices touring choir in their performance at the Sydney Opera House for the international audience at the Sydney Peace Prize lecture by Patrick Dodson in November 2008. She was recently featured in the movie “ Mrs Carey’s Concert” preparing and conducting 1800 girls for their biennial Opera house concert. Michelle is originally from Coonamble.
See Michelle conduct the World Premiere of Andrew Schultz's Ring Out Wild Bells as featured in Mrs Carey's Concert!