Violinist Leonid Sushansky has been acclaimed widely for his, "Gorgeous tone...Compelling musical personality...Passionate intensity.", The Washington Post. He has appeared with many orchestras and in esteemed concert halls worldwide and has been featured on numerous radio and television programs. "He is a compelling performer, who connects with his audience... whose virtuosity allows him complete mastery over the repertoire for the violin." Elizabeth Schulze, Music Director, Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Performances of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in England brought him high praise. "A bravura performance...a soloist at one with his instrument." Stratford-upon-Avon Herald. "...an impeccable technique and persuasive communication..." Birmingham Post. Leonid's performance is a perfect blend of virtuosity and expression, "He plays with so much heart it makes you want to cry." Nina Totenberg, NPR
He is the Artistic Director and Founder of the National Chamber Ensemble. Recent and upcoming appearances include performances at New York's Baruch College and Merkin Hall, Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater in Washington DC, debuts at Berlin's Philharmonie and the Leipzig Gewandhaus in Germany as well as Zurich's Tonhalle, the Anderson House Museum/Society of the Cincinatti, Smithsonian American Art Museum's Steinway Series, the Embassy of Italy, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C. He received rave reviews for his performance of the Bach Chaconne choreographed by acclaimed choreographer Lucy Bowen McCauley with dancers from Bowen McCauley Dance, the Vivaldi Four Season's with the National Chamber Ensemble and his debuts with the New Hampshire Symphony and the Alexandria Symphony. Mr. Sushansky has appeared five times in recital at the Phillips Collection and has also appeared in recital at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and the Shakespeare Theatre Harman Center in Washington DC. He made a special appearance with the Landon Symphonette performing the Theme from "Schindlers List", Sarasate's Introduction and Tarantella and the Kabalevsky Violin Concerto. The week long residency with the Symphonette included a masterclass and a lecture. Other highlights included recitals at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, England's Virtuoso Violin Festival, a Carnegie Hall recital to benefit the American Lung Association, the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, the Washington County Museum of Art and the Jewish Cultural Center in Washington DC. He was featured on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered". Other solo orchestral engagements have included the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Queens Park Symphonia in England, and a Gala Concert at Strathmore Center for the Arts in Rockville, Maryland. At that special event he performed three pieces from the movie "Schindlers List" for violin and orchestra. Committed to playing chamber music, he has been a frequent featured guest artist on the Embassy Series in Washington D.C.and has performed all over the United States as well as at music festivals in England, Italy, France, Belgium, Mexico and British Columbia.
His role as a musical story teller and educator has been established not only through his playing, but also through the witty and insightful stories about the music he loves, making the performance a more personal and interactive experience. Feeling quite at home in the solo, orchestral and chamber music setting, he served as Concertmaster of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2007. During his tenure as Concertmaster he appeared as soloist with the orchestra on eight different occasions in works from Vivaldi to Khachaturian.
Growing up with the sounds of the violin in St Petersburg, Russia, he began musical studies with his mother, Rimma Sushanskaya, a violinist and pupil of the legendary David Oistrakh. Mr.Sushansky enjoyed early recognition and came to prominence at age 12 when he appeared on the Marvin Hamlisch TV Special for Showtime performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. From age 13, Mr. Sushansky was a scholarship student at the renowned Juilliard School, where he remained for 7 years under the tutelage of Dorothy DeLay. He also had the priviledge of being coached by the great violinist, Isaak Stern. At age 15, he was invited by Zubin Mehta to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic in the Young People's Concerts performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.
Graduate studies were completed at the University of Maryland with Daniel Heifetz. His other important teachers have included Elisabeth Adkins, Dennis Piwowarsky and Arnold Steinhardt of the renowned Guarneri Quartet. The many prizes and honors he has received include the Outstanding Young Emigre Musician Award, presented by film and Broadway star Tony Roberts, the Leningrad Young Musician's Competition, the Westchester Conservatory Competition, the University of Maryland Concerto Competition, the University of Maryland Graduate Assistantship, the New York Philharmonic National Young Artists Competition, the Bergen Philharmonic Competition and the Inter-Cities Foundation Award.
His debut on tour with the Romanian State Philharmonic under the baton of Ovidiu Balan was critically acclaimed. John Paul Keeler wrote for the Hudson Valley Papers, " The surprise of the evening was the debut here of the violinist Leonid Sushansky...Sushansky played the Rondo Cappriccioso of Saint-Saens and Romance of Antonin Dvorak flawlessly. He exhibited a Ricci like technique and a brilliant but touching singing tone like Zeno Francescatti". The orchestras he has performed as soloist with include: the Windsor Symphony, Arlington Symphony, Municipal Orchestra of New York, Alexandria Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Queens Park Symphonia, New York Philharmonic, Romanian State Philharmonic, Fairfax Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York, Richmond Philharmonic, McLean Orchestra, Britt Festival Orchestra, Aspen Chamber Orchestra, Staten Island Symphony, the Landon Symphonette, JCC Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Washington Pro-Musica and symphony orchestras of the University of Maryland, the Westchester Conservatory and Mary Washington College.
In his free time Mr. Sushansky has donated energy and talents to a number of worthy causes including an Earth Day Concert at the Washington National Cathedral, several AIDS benefits and a Gala Benefit Concert for Romanian Orphan Children. He has performed as soloist numerous times with the Maryland Symphony for the Independence Day Concert at Antietam National Battlefield. When he opened the season performing Bruch's Violin Concerto #1 in G minor with the Staten Island Symphony, Jonathan Strasser conducting, the Staten Island Advance called his performance, " ... flawless." After his performances of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with the Maryland Symphony, the Herald-Mail wrote, "Violinist thrills audience...thumbs up for his extraordinary performance." Currently he resides in Arlington, Virginia, and in addition to the violin enjoys theater, reading and rollerblading.