Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist and music theorist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and music and screen history, particularly music and adaptations of Shakespeare; and a librettist and poet. She is the author of five scholarly books and numerous book chapters and articles. Her work has appeared in Music Theory Online, Cerae, This Rough Magic, Upstart Crow, Early Modern Studies Journal, The Journal of Historical Biography, The Journal of Musicological Research, and Current Musicology, among other journals and collections. She is the Executive Director of the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive.
Dr. Leonard was the 2017-18 Rudolph Ganz Long-Term Fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Other past awards and fellowships include the American Musicological Society’s 2016 Janet Levy Award; the Society for American Music‘s 2016 Sight and Sound subvention for her collaborative project with the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive and pianist Ethan Uslan; a 2016 American Music Research Center Fellowship; a Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities, the inaugural Judith Tick Fellowship from the Society for American Music; and Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Thornton Wilder Fellowship in Wilder Studies.
Dr. Leonard’s poetry appears in numerous publications including vox poetica, lunch, These Fragile Lilacs, and Upstart: Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, among other venues. Marie Curie Learns to Swim, a one-act chamber opera with a libretto by Dr. Leonard and music by composer Jessica Rudman, was premiered by the Hartford Opera Theater in April 2018; Leonard and Rudman’s “Four Songs for Lady Macbeth” were also on the program. With composer Jena Root and soprano Margaret O’Connell, Leonard is collaborating on a work called Fontainebleau Chansons for the 100th anniversary of the Conservatoire Américain de Fontainebleau in 2021.
Recent and Upcoming Scholarly Publications, Presentations, and Projects
“Laura Rossi’s War Musics,” in Double Lives: Film Composers in the Concert Hall, ed. James Wierzbicki, Routledge, 2019.
“Women at the Pedals: Female Cinema Musicians During the Great War,” Over Here, Over There: Transatlantic Conversations on the Music of World War I, ed. William Brooks, Christina Bashford, and Gayle Magee, University of Illinois Press (forthcoming).
“The Gothic and Music: Scoring ‘Silent’ Spectres,” The Gothic and the Arts, ed. David Punter, University of Edinburgh Press (forthcoming).
“Shakespeare’s Second Line,” Borrowers and Lenders, special issue on Shakespeare and jazz, edited by Stephen Buhler (forthcoming).
Recent and Forthcoming Creative Works
A Forest that is a Desert (three poems for a piece by Jessica Rudman for the Choral Arts initiative, Los Angeles).
Premiere of The Harbingers, an unaccompanied opera with a libretto by Leonard and music by Rosśa Crean. October 31, 2019, Rosehill Cemetery. More details to come.
“Frost Ascending,” Climbing Lightly Through Forests, ed. Rose Lemberg, Aqueduct Press, 2019. Volume in memory and honor of Ursula K. LeGuin.
Prelude to Protectress, Curating Alexandria, 2019.
Four Songs for Lady Macbeth, The Shakespeare Multiverse, ed. Louise Geddes and Valerie Fazel (forthcoming).
Works in Progress
Music for the Kingdom of Shadows: Cinema Accompaniment in the Age of Spiritualism (Humanities Commons ebook)
“Projection, Erasure, and Recovery: Women in Silent Film Music” (digital history project)
“Nostalgia and Cultural Memory in Scoring for The General (1927)”
SHEAF: Shakespeare in Early Film database
Fontainebleau Chansons (five poems for a song cycle by Jena Root for soprano Margaret O’Connell)
From Wild Sleeping Waters (eight poems for a song cycle by Jessica Rudman)
Tobermory (opera libretto based on the short story by Saki for Edward Caine)
All of the Leaves (three poems for a song cycle by Jen Wang)
Water Lines (five poems for a song cycle by Allyssa Jones)
Leonard’s ORCID is 0000-0003-3005-4344, and you can also follow and engage with her work at Humanities Commons CORE.