Leslie Wilkinson joined the music faculty at GVSU in 2004, specializing in a General Education curriculum including Fundamentals of Music, Exploring American Music, and Jazz History. As a freelance violinist, Ms. Wilkinson has performed extensively in symphony orchestras including the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jackson (Mississippi) Symphony, the New Orleans Philharmonic, and the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. Chamber music ensembles which she has played in include the Cincinnati Pro Musica, Écoutez! of New Orleans, and countless opera, ballet, theater, and popular entertainment orchestras. Ms. Wilkinson has often performed as concertmaster or principal violin in professional chamber and pop orchestras, including several years as assistant concertmaster in the West Shore Symphony Orchestra. While living in New Orleans, she performed with the renowned ragtime ensemble New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra, which focuses on early 20th century/New Orleans music, performing original archival material from the Tulane jazz collection. The group toured Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana, and enjoyed an invitation to play for Carnivale in Milan, Italy during her tenure.
After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Indiana State University, with an area major in General, Instrumental, and Vocal Music, Ms. Wilkinson turned to American history, studying and working for several years as Historical Interpreter at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, under Dr. Robert D. Ronsheim. While in Massachusetts, she also directed the string program in grades 4-12 for the Lakeville-Freetown School District, and studied violin with Henryk Kowalski of Providence, Rhode Island. From 1976 to 1980 she was a founding member of the now-venerable School House Symphony, writing music, postulating programs, and lecturing/performing at over 200 concerts per year in the Cincinnati area public and private schools. She has enjoyed working with children and children’s music, from conducting church choirs to arranging and directing a recording of classic children's tunes. She continues to teach private violin lessons and serves as a string consultant in the metro Grand Rapids area, while maintaining a performing schedule which includes the Traverse Symphony, the Kalamazoo Symphony, the West Shore Symphony, and numerous freelance opportunities.
Page last modified October 22, 2010