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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
October 22, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Prof. Leslie De'Ath

Professor, Piano, Vocal Diction, Coaching, Keyboard Literature; Music Director of Opera Program; Coach Accompanist, Opera Diploma

Contact Information
Phone: 519-884-1970 ext.2155

Office Location: A412

Academic Background
MusBac, MA (Toronto), ARCT

Prof. De’Ath is a long-serving member of the Faculty of Music, having joined in 1979.  He presently teaches studio piano, piano literature, lyric diction, coaches singers, and musically directs the Faculty operatic productions. 

In recent years, Prof. De’Ath as a pianist has devoted increasing attention to the recording medium, as a means of raising awareness of lesser-known and forgotten significant composers of past eras, particularly British and French composers from 1850-1950.  He is now one of Canada’s most prolific recording artists, having released over twenty-five CDs.  These include the complete piano music of Cyril Scott on nine CDs, and the complete piano sonatas of Algernon Ashton.  His recordings have garnered consistently fine reviews internationally, in Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Fanfare, The American Record Guide, The International Record Review, Classica répertoire, and other periodicals.  His first CD of Billy Mayerl piano selections was awarded a Gramophone Editor’s Choice in 2008.  He combines his recording activity with a scholar’s interest in the composer and period, resulting in extensive CD liner notes and published articles concerning the repertory.  A symposium volume on Cyril Scott is now in the planning stages.  A further extensive project, now underway, will involve recording the complete piano music of Florent Schmitt on 15 CDs.  Faculty colleague, Anya Alexeyev, joins De’Ath on recording for the piano duet and duo repertory of these composers. 

A further research area of interest is lyric diction for singers - an area in which he commands an international reputation.  He has been an Associate Editor of the Journal of Singing since 2002, responsible for the standing column, Language and Diction.  This duty involves the regular authoring of articles on lyric diction, and liaising with other authorities in the field as guest contributors.

Known for his generalist versatility, Prof. De’Ath has been involved in a wide variety of musical endeavours both on and off campus, including concerto appearances (piano and harpsichord), chamber music (Trio Laurier, The Poulenc Trio, Contrasts), duo piano recitals, orchestral keyboard playing (since 1980 with the KW Symphony and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble), continuo playing, and artistic directorship (Viva Voci Concerts, 1992-1999).  Over his career he has been involved in approximately 100 CBC broadcasts.  Highly regarded as a vocal coach and accompanist, he has performed with many of Canada’s finest singers, and has recorded albums of Schubert and Wolf cycles and Liszt Lieder.  He has conducted 29 of the Faculty operatic productions since 1991, including Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Albert Herring, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and L’Heure espagnole, Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Vaughan Williams’ Pilgrim’s Progress, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Weill’s Street Scene, Ward’s The Crucible, and the Canadian premiere of Louis Aubert’s La forêt bleue.

Prof. De’Ath has also been active administratively, having served terms as Acting Dean and Acting Associate Dean.