Pianist Leon Bates performs at ECSU

Kesha Williams
August 22, 2007

Elizabeth City State University's Lyceum Series Committee presents internationally acclaimed, concert pianist Leon Bates at 7 p.m., on August 23 in the Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts Center. Since winning the Philadelphia Orchestra Senior Auditions as a student over 20 years ago, Leon Bates has emerged as one of America's leading pianists. He is invited to the most prestigious concert halls and his performances have warranted critical and audience accolades in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center, Philadelphia's Academy of Music, the Hollywood Bowl and the Masonic Hall in San Francisco, presented by the Four Seasons Concert Association. He appeared in Naples, Italy in two recitals and took part in the filming of "Music in the 20th Century" telecast on PBS. He also hosted a radio series funded by the Pew Foundation, "Notes from Philadelphia." His sheer mastery of his instrument has led to many invitations to perform with major symphonies such as the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Detroit Symphony and the Atlanta Symphony. His large repertoire includes over 30 concerti by the major composers, several contemperory concerti and he is known for his masterful performances of works by the romantics such as Rachmaninoff and his brilliant performances of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F. Among his many awards are the National Association of Music Teachers Collegiate Artists Competition, the National Association of Negro Musicians Competition, the Philadelphia Orchestra Senior Auditions, the Symphony of the New World Competition and the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalists Fellowship Grant. His importance to the music world was noted with an honorary doctorate from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. In 1993, Mr. Bates received the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award from the Greater New York Wallenberg Committee for his extensive work with children. In addition to a full concert schedule, Mr. Bates is a master teacher and often is called upon to give master classes to promising young musicians. Known for his ability to attract audiences, he is a favorite on college campuses because of his broad interests outside of classical music. He enjoys all the performing arts including dance, theatre and all types of music. He is a sports enthusiast and a disciplined body builder, which he feels aids his playing ability. Mr. Bates has recorded on the Orion label, Performance Records, and on Naxos. The Lyceum Series is provided free of charge for the community's cultural enrichment. For more information, please call Ms. Barbaina Houston Black in the ECSU Division of Student Affairs, 335-3279. Rile Artists Management contributed to the press release.