Described by the New York Times as “an impressive violinist [who plays] intimately and sweetly at one moment and with fearless enthusiasm at the next,” Leslie Shank leads an active musical life as a soloist and chamber musician. She was a member of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra for 30 years, 24 years as assistant concertmaster. Ms. Shank gave her New York recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Hall as a winner of the Artists International Competition, and was twice re-engaged to perform on its Special Presentation Series. A frequent soloist with The SPCO, Shank has also performed with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Seattle Symphony, the National Orchestral Association (also serving as concertmaster), and the Racine Symphony. Her recital at the celebrated Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago was broadcast on WFMT radio.
Ms. Shank served as concertmaster of the “Music in the Mountains” Festival in Colorado for eleven years, and has performed at numerous other festivals including the Aspen, Grand Teton, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, and the Britt Festival, where she served as concertmaster of the festival orchestra. As a member of the prestigious Musicians from Marlboro, she toured the East Coast. She was also a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra for four years. Ms. Shank served a one-year appointment as Visiting Assistant Violin Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for 2014-15.
Ms. Shank is a founding member the Isles Ensemble, which has as its core, a group of the best chamber musicians from The Twin Cities. Founded in 2005, the Isles Ensemble performs regularly in Minneapolis with varied guest artists in a wide range of repertoire. Leslie plays both violin and viola as a member of The Isles Ensemble.
On disc, Shank can be heard on a Centaur release, Recital for Violin & Guitar, with her husband, classical guitarist Joseph Hagedorn. The Shank-Hagedorn Duo has performed on Minnesota Public Radio’s “St. Paul Sunday." Also on the Centaur label, Ms. Shank has recorded Bartok's Violin Sonatas with pianist Heather MacLaughlin. In 1997, the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo received the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians. Ms. Shank's interest in Bartok's Violin Sonatas resulted in a trip to Hungary with pianist Heather MacLaughlin to study those works through a grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations.
Leslie was awarded both a Bachelor and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School. Her teachers were Shirley Givens, Felix Galimir, and Dorothy Delay.
Ms. Shank is also an avid photographer of both portraits and landscapes. Examples of her work can be seen in the Photo Gallery.