The Great Highland Bagpipes and the Irish Uillean bagpipes have become increasingly popular in recent years. Both are handled masterfully by noted saxophone virtuoso J. Michael Leonard.

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost concert saxophonists, J. Michael Leonard is a dynamic and versatile musical artist who is very active as an internationally renowned soloist appearing with orchestras and in recital throughout the United States and around the world. He has been hailed as the “Heifetz of the saxophone”(Moscow Music Week) and his virtuosic performances “reveal a potent technique allied with remarkable control....just superlative (Boston Globe).  Michael has toured as a soloist with the St. Petersburg Glinka Capella Orchestra (which included performances at Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow) and the Ukrainian National Symphony throughout Ukraine. He has also widely concertized in countries such as England, Korea, Hong Kong, Poland and India to name but a few. His performance of the Concerto by the Pulitzer Prize-Winning composer Karel Husa, was under Dr. Husa’s baton. Michael also gave the world concert premiere of Bernard Herrmann’s “Prelude-A Night Piece” from the movie Taxi Driver with the Connecticut Orchestra.

With over 3400 professional engagements, audiences have applauded him at Tanglewood, Aspen, Great Woods, Cirencester (UK), Cheltenham (UK) and the Kiev and Lvov International Festivals. He has also been a guest artist at the Chopin Academy (Warsaw,Poland) as well as the Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky Conservatories in Kiev, Ukraine.  Michael has also been a featured soloist on the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series in Chicago. Michael has also performed extensively in jazz and popular music with such artists as Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and the Temptations to name just a few.

Since the age of twenty-two, Michael has served as an orchestral saxophonist for the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops Orchestras. He is also a very active chamber and symphonic musician, regularly performing as a clarinetist, bass clarinetist and flutist. Michael’s interest in Celtic music has led him to perform on the Irish flute, Irish Uillean bagpipes and the Great Highland bagpipes. Michael has also appeared as a guest on radio and television  including  performances on WGBH(Boston), WFMT(Chicago), Radio Moscow, KBS(Korean Broadcasting Service) and Radio Television Hong Kong.

Michael’s compact discs are on the ASV (United Kingdom), Black Lion, Sony (Boston Pops), New World and CRI recording labels. As an active arranger, over 75 of his works for saxophone, clarinet, oboe and bassoon have been published by Theodore Presser, Masters Music (Kalmus) and Mel Bay. His book, Extended Technique for the Saxophone is widely recognized as a major work on contemporary performance techniques. As a teacher, Michael has taught at the New England Conservatory, Brown University and the Hartt School of Music.

Michael resides in Wayland, Massachusetts with his wife, clarinetist Rebecca  Leonard, their children, Hunter and Mallory and their Rottweilers Callie and Quincy. For more on J. Michael Leonard, please visit him at


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