The Sunderman Conservatory of Music is proud to announce that Dr. César Leal will join the Gettysburg College faculty this fall 2019 as Assistant Professor, Director of Orchestral Activities.
A Colombian-born conductor and musicologist, Leal’s scholarly and creative activities often intersect across a diverse array of interests, including music and culture during fin-de-siècle Paris, Franco-American artistic interactions, soundscapes, Jewish patronage and modernism, Latin American cultural identities in the U.S., and race, class, gender relations in music.
As a conductor, Leal has led professional ensembles across the U.S., Panama, Colombia, France, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. The program for his debut with the Panama National Symphony Orchestra in July 2014 featured works from the fin-de-siècle (1880-1913) that bridged European and Latin American musical traditions. He will return to Panama during the summer of 2019 as director of the Alfredo de Saint-Malo International Music Festival. His program will include Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique and Gavilan’s Guaguancó.
Leal’s work is frequently interdisciplinary and collaborative. He is the founder and director of The Ensemble of Variable Geometry, a music performance/research organization that has featured projects, such as a full-staged ballet production of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun, and Chopin’s Les Syplhides (in collaboration with Lexington Ballet), Carreño’s Golpe en el Diafragma, Berio’s O king, and Mahler’s Symphony 4. Other interdisciplinary projects have included Guncotton, a collaboration with visual artist Greg Pond, choreographer Banning Bouldin, and soprano Jessica Usherwood that received a 2018 ArtPrize award.
While pursuing his musicologist career, Leal has presented scholarly papers in the U.S., Canada, Greece, Japan, Italy, France, England, Peru, Colombia, and Switzerland. In 2018, Leal was invited by Musikproduktion Hoeflich to join the project Repertoire Explorer Series, for which he produces introductory essays for new editions of works by Parisian composers of fin-de-siècle Paris such as Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Pierné, and Camille Chevillard. His scholarly contributions include “Écouter le Scandale et la Transgression: Les Modèles Révisionnistes de l’Histriographie Musicale Basés sur l’Étude Du Paysage Sonore” (Nîmes: Lucie Éditions, 2015), and “Sponsoring and Constructing Modernism: Jewish Patronage, Entrepreneurs, and Cultural Mediation in Paris during Fin-de-siècle” (forthcoming—Ad Parnasum). Currently, Leal is co-editing a collection of essays entitled “America in the French Imaginary” with musicologist Diana Hallman.
Leal holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Kentucky, M.M. in instrumental conducting from Florida International University, and a B.M. in Music Performance from Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Leal will come to Gettysburg having previously served as artistic director and conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, where he also served as a member of both the faculty and the artistic advisory committee of the internationally recognized Sewanee Summer Music Festival.
Leal is excited to join the faculty at the Sunderman Conservatory and honored to collaborate with his new colleagues and serve all the students at Gettysburg College. He and his partner Troy Johnson, who will serve the community as a therapist in his private psychotherapy practice, are thrilled to be joining the Gettysburg community.
Learn more about the faculty of the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College.
Photo by Mandy Moe Pwint Tu.