Leslie Shank


     I worked with Leslie for a year during my Master's at UW-Madison. Her breadth of professional experience makes her a knowledgeable and helpful teacher, particularly for students preparing for orchestral auditions. She is an excellent presenter of public masterclasses; her technical and musical advice is applicable to students in every stage of excerpt study. I would recommend her to aspiring orchestral musicians looking for educational and valuable instruction.


-Thalia Coombs, student at University of Wisconsin, Madison




Leslie is the rarest of teachers in that she combines decades of chamber music and orchestral experience, the highest musicianship and impeccable technique with strong pedagogy in her teaching.  I came to Leslie having had years of prior lessons, but in working with her, I was able to transform my playing completely, releasing tension and honing both my violin technique and musicianship.  Leslie was seemingly able to approach any music I brought to her, which ranged from the standard concerti such as Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Sibelius and Mozart, to 20th century concertos such as Bartok and Prokofiev, and finally to the entire range of classical to contemporary chamber music that is my passion.  Throughout my entire time studying with Leslie, she maintained the most positive and nurturing attitude towards my education and playing.  I have seen Leslie teach students at all levels, from beginners who have never touched a violin to the most advanced levels, and she has repeatedly demonstrated her mastery as a teacher and educator for all of them.  I am indebted to Leslie for what she has helped me achieve, and for her eminently sensitive and highly inspiring violin instruction.


-David Knapp, private student


Leslie Shank is our most frequent guest clinician on orchestral excerpts, back year after year by popular demand.  I will never forget a class she gave devoted entirely to the three infamous scherzos (of Schumann, Mendelssohn and Beethoven)  in which, with myth-busting clarity, she helped each student with the type of practical advice that can only come from countless experiences performing these works.  All this while revealing important stylistic similarities and differences between each excerpt.  Anyone serious about orchestra auditions should seek her advice at every opportunity.

-David Perry, Professor of Violin, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Pro Arte Quartet
Former concertmaster, Aspen Chamber Symphony


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Photo by Genevieve Ross