Whether conducting the 100 voices of Los Robles Master Chorale, the 115 voices of Los Angeles Master Chorale, or the 80 voices of the New West Symphony Chorus, Lesley Leighton's primary mission remains the same: to nurture southern California's rich choral music tradition. A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Leighton studied with Paul Salamunovich at Loyola Marymount University, where she earned her BA in choral conducting. She later obtained her MM in vocal performance and DMA in choral music from the University of Southern California.
Lesley Leighton's musical activities have taken her across the United States and abroad. A principal solo artist for more than two decades, Ms. Leighton sang with many of the world's most eminent conductors, including Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Bramwell Tovey, Rafael Fr¨uhbeck de Burgos and Grant Gershon. Her opera credits include principal appearances with New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Koln Opera, Paris Opera and Glyndebourne.
As a choral conductor, Lesley Leighton embraces a broad range of music, from the Renaissance to the Romantic Era, although she is particularly dedicated to twentieth and twenty-first century compositions. A long-time advocate of music education, she inaugurated Los Robles Master Chorale's annual High School Choral Festival in March of 2010, launched the High School Choral Leadership Workshop in October 2010, and has established LRMC's Young Artist Choral Composers Competition.
Lesley Leighton was named the first associate conductor in the history of Los Angeles Master Chorale in July 2011 following a year as assistant conductor. She was appointed artistic director of Los Robles Master Chorale in 2008, and music director of New West Symphony Chorus in 2009. In addition, she has been guest-conductor for El Dorado Opera, Santa Clara Chorale and the Santa Monica Summer Sing-a-long Series. Ms. Leighton has prepared choirs for Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Rafael Fr¨uhbeck de Burgos, Bramwell Tovey, Leonard Slatkin, Boris Brott and Marcello Lehninger.