Full Bio




B.Mus (Manitoba), M.Mus (Rice), DMA (Texas)

Cellist Leanne Zacharias’ approach to musical life has been compared to extreme  sport— from soloist to collaborating across genres with choreographers, writers, architects, visual artists and musicians of all stripes, she has emerged with a uniquely vibrant and contemporary voice.

A versatile performer, she has been artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for Arts, with San Francisco’s Odyssey Works and Sweden’s Elucian Ensemble, apprentice with Montreal’s Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and shared stages with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Toronto’s Aradia Ensemble, the Hylozoists, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Boundary Ensemble, Toca Loca, Whitehorse’s Longest Night Ensemble, Wiretap’s Jonathan Goldstein, the Miro Quartet, Edgar Meyer and the Weakerthans. With longtime cohort, songwriter Christine Fellows, she has toured the continent and contributed to original music for video, modern dance, five albums on Six Shooter Records and the Winnipeg Arts Council-sponsored Reliquary performance project. She is also on the artistic direction team of the Brandon Chamber Players.

A strong advocate for the new, Dr. Zacharias has premiered dozens of compositions, commissioned several handfuls, and worked with leading composers including Arvo Part, Krystof Penderecki, Joan Tower, John Adams and George Tsontakis. She also curates Music for Spaces, a site-specific performance project with installations presented at the Cohen New Works Festival, Orford’s Sound Art Workshop, Germany’s Intersymp 2008 and New York City’s AMP Music Series to great acclaim. Her recent live installation entitled Listening Booth was presented in Sackville, New Brunswick this summer as part of the Sappyfest Music Festival. Other collaborative projects have been presented at the Sutherland Gallery of Art, the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Austin’s Creative Research Lab and the Big Range Dance Festival. Recordings have been broadcast across CBC Radio, NPR and BRAVO.

Originally from Morden, Manitoba, she studied with Arek Tesarczyk and Paul Marleyn at the University of Manitoba before receiving a Masters Degree from Rice University as a student of Desmond Hoebig. She received her Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, where her interdisciplinary performance research was supported by the Getty Foundation, a Roberts Endowed Presidential Scholarship, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Amati Foundation and a prestigious Graduate Continuing Fellowship. While there, she was a company member of the American Repertory Ensemble, the Movable Feast performance collective, and worked closely with Josh Gindele of the Miro Quartet, composer Dan Welcher and musicologist Phil Ford.

Dr. Zacharias has been Brandon University’s cello professor, orchestral director and chamber music co-director since 2008. An energetic teacher, she is popular as a guest lecturer and adjudicator. She recently participated in the inaugural Banff Research in Culture workshop at the Banff Centre for Arts, served as composition/performance chair of Austin’s Gamma-UT musicology conference, and performance chair of the IIAS Arts + Humanities Sessions in Baden-Baden, Germany. Since returning to Canada, she has performed in the Agassiz, Ottawa and Ritornello Chamber Music Festivals, Nuna (now), X-Avant and BU New Music Festivals. She was a featured performer in the 2011 International Cello Festival of Canada, where she curated the festival’s opening event at The Cube in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. She spearheads the Correction Line Ensemble, melding narrative songwriting with contemporary chamber music. She has performed in Winnipeg’s Groundswell new music series, as part of Nicole Lizee’s Saskpower, and appears regularly with the Boundary Ensemble, based in Regina. Other collaborations have resulted in work with visual artists Shary Boyle and Ben Davis, choreographer Lesandra Dodson, poet Di Brandt, performance artists Jaclyn Pryor and Abe Burickson, sound artist Steve Bates, the Mountain Goats and John K. Samson.