Lesa Terry, USA. As a violinist, composer, artistic director, educator, and scholar, Lesa Terry is at the vanguard of contemporary musical interpretation and an artist whose creative genius consistently brings distinctive innovation to musical performance. The astounding depth and breadth of her talents are apparent upon a cursory review of her background including a master’s degree in Afro-Latin music and in pursuit of a doctorate degree in Ethnomusicology. Her career as a professional musician includes experiences that provide her with a unique base of knowledge and a framework for originality that surpasses anything and anyone associated with typical. Her accomplishments include membership with the Atlanta and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, as well as performances, lectures, clinics and master classes with the Uptown String Quartet and Max Roach Double Quartet. Ms. Terry serves as the founder and musical director for the Women’s Jazz Orchestra of Los Angeles, recently presenting stellar performances for the 2008 World Festival of Sacred Music and the 2006 Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. Within the field of music education, Lesa continues as a major contributor to innovative string pedagogy, presenting lectures, clinics, workshops, and demonstrations for the United Nations, North Atlantic Fiddle Conference, Alasdair Fraser’s Scottish Fiddle Camp, American String Teachers Association, Santa Monica College, Duke Ellington Conference, UCLA, International Association of Jazz Educators, Henry Mancini Institute, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cal Arts Summer Music Program for High School Students, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, New York University, The Manhattan School of Music, Julliard School of Music, and the University of Massachusetts. Lesa Terry’s 2001 CD entitled, “A City Called Heaven, Spirituals For Jazz Violin” highlights her dedication to music from the African American continuum as well as a desire to create revolutionary approaches in the field of jazz improvisation and healing through music.
Lesa Terry has been presented throughout Europe and the United States as a performer, lecturer, and resident artist. Ms.Terry is currently an active member of the music faculty at California State University at Los Angeles teaching courses in “Jazz in American Culture” and “Elements of Jazz Harmony”. As a former faculty member, Lesa Terry has taught at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; New York University; the University of Massachusetts; Alabama State University; Quad City Arts Educational Program; Santa Monica College, California; The New School, New York City; University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of New Hampshire.
Ms. Terry has performed as soloist and leader of her own ensemble for The Vermont Jazz Society, The Los Angeles African American Museum, The Jazz Gallery in New York City, The Henry Mancini Institute, The International Association of Jazz Educators, The Duke Ellington Conference, The Beem Foundation, Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Performing Arts Series, and an all star tribute to sculptor Ed Dwight.
As a founding member of the Grammy nominated Uptown String Quartet and the Double Quartet founded by the lengendary drummer, Max Roach, Lesa has composed, arranged, and performed extensively for their recordings. The Uptown String Quartet has also performed for historical occasions such as the 70th Birthday Celebration of noted Noble literary prize winning author Toni Morrison, the French Embassy’s tribute to Jessye Norman and the Lincoln Center tribute to the music of Benny Golson. The Uptown String Quartet has also been featured on numerous television shows which include “The Bill Cosby Show”, “CBS Sunday Morning”, “The Today Show”, “The Charlie Rose Show”, and “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”.
Lesa Terry’s acclaimed premiere performance of “Reflections of Ellington” earned her the prestigious “Meet the Composer” grant as well as a the “New York Fund for New Work” award. Lesa also performed with the jazz great McCoy Tyner in affiliation with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra of Los Angeles commissioned Lesa to compose an original work for jazz violin and orchestra for Fall of 2001.
Her credits also include membership in the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra,California (1979-82), Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,Georgia (1983-86), Nashville Symphony Orchestra,Tennesee (1986-88), Concordia Chamber Symphony,New York City (1995-99),Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Fall 1999), San Louis Obispo Mozart Orchestra (Summer 1999).
Concertmaster and first violinist with a dozen Broadway shows including “Black and Blue”, “Les Miserables”, “Miss Saigon”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Show Boat”, “Ragtime” and ” “The Wild Party”. Ms Terry has played for many Motion Picture soundtacks including Spike Lee films, “Psycho” and “John Q”.