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.
Leonard was the 2017-18 Rudolph Ganz Long-Term Fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Other past awards and fellowships include the Music Library Association’s 2019 Dena Epstein Award; 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.
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. Leonard collaborates regularly with composers on works for voice including new operas and song cycles. Her latest libretto is for composer Rosśa Crean’s opera The Harbingers, which will be premiered on 31 October 2019 in Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery.
Recent and Upcoming Scholarly Publications, Presentations, and Projects
“Music and Madness in Shakespearean Films,” Sun Prairie and Black Earth Libraries, Wisconsin, 25 and 26 September 2019.
“Music and Mental Illness in Shakespeare,” Intersections: (Dis)ability & the Arts, Misericordia University, Dallas, PA, Spring 2020.
Respondent, “The Supernatural and Transcendent in Shakespeare on Screen” seminar, Shakespeare Association of America annual meeting, April 2020, Denver, CO.
“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
Juried Poet, Houston Poetry Fest; poetry reading October 12, 2019: “Unseen Stars,” “Texas Water Code,” “Hurricane Season.”
“My Golem,” “Selenic Lore,” “March to June,” and “New Train Song,” In Parentheses 2019.
“East Wind to Paradise,” Bacopa Literary Review, 2019.
Premiere of The Harbingers, an unaccompanied opera with a libretto by Leonard and music by Rosśa Crean. 7:30 pm, October 31, 2019, Rosehill Cemetery.
“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)”
The Date is Set (libretto for an opera by Lisa Neher)
Fontainebleau Chansons (four 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.