Laurence Lesser

Laurence Lesser

Upcoming Appearances


Cellist Laurence Lesser was a top prizewinner in the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and a participant in the historic Heifetz-Piatigorsky concerts and recordings. His New York debut recital in 1969 was greeted as "triumphant" and “magical.” His Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations in Hamburg, Die Welt stated, “could not have been more thoroughly realized than in this staggering performance.” A 1961 graduate of Harvard College, where he studied mathematics, he went to Germany the following year to work with Gaspar Cassadó. In the Zermatt master classes just before, Pablo Casals declared, “Thank God who has given you such a great talent!” Back home in Los Angeles, he studied with Gregor Piatigorsky and soon became his teaching assis­tant and regular faculty member at the University of Southern California. In 1974 he was invited to head New England Conservatory’s cello depart­ment. In 1983 he became NEC’s president, and retired from it in 1996 to return to performing and teaching. A high point of his tenure as president was the complete restoration of the 1000-seat Jordan Hall, one of the world's greatest acoustical spaces. As a chamber musician he has participated at the Casals, Marlboro, Spoleto, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, and Santa Fe festivals and since 1969 has played often with the Chamber Music Society. Mr. Lesser recently recorded all the Bach Suites, including his transcription of Suite V from Bach’s manuscript of the lute version. The recordings are soon to be released.

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