Pianist teaches classical music to students

Geraldine Marquez

Pianist Leon Bates will be performing in Plaza del Sol performance hall, Feb. 4 to celebrate Black History month. Photo courtesy of Therri Donnelly; Community Outreach Liaison

Pianist Leon Bates is scheduled to perform at Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m

In honor of Black History Month, Leon Bates “will recount the history of segregation in American music, and share what he learned from an older generation of black musicians who opened the door for today’s African American performers,” said Therri Donnelly, Community Outreach Liaison.

Showcasing his classical musical style, Bates is willing to offer technical advice and guidance to music majors during his performance, Donnelly said.

Growing up, Leon Bates seemed like a typical kid interested in playing baseball games with friends, however he was also involved in piano, violin, and tuba lessons.

He is now a holder of a doctorate from Washing and Lee University, Donnelly said.

“Leon Bates has performed with major symphonies such as the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the National Symphony, among others,” she said.

On top of his performances with major symphonies, Bates has also been seen on major TV Networks like Bravo!, NBC’s “The Today Show,” and CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” Donnelly said.

Although he is currently in pursuit of a career as a concert pianist, he is also interested in bodybuilding, she said.

Bates also won several awards as well as competitions, and his work has been released on labels like the Orion, Performance, and Naxos, Donnelly said.

“Mr. Bates will identify the ways in which classical music continues to infiltrate our ears and offer background information on some of the composers and compositions that remain at the forefront of the public consciousness today.”

Student tickets to the performance are selling for $20. Students will be allowed to purchase two $20 tickets with their student ID. The Master Class however is free and it is being scheduled for the week of Feb. 1.

The performance hall and ticket office are located in the Student Union, off of Lindley St. Parking will be available in Lot G-3. For more information about Bates’ performance or other upcoming performances at the Plaza del Sol visit www.arts.valleyperformingartscenter.org.