American classical music artist AMADÉUS LEOPOLD made his concert violinist debut to the standing ovation of Isaac Stern at age 12 in downtown Los Angeles, as the solo performer chosen to honor Stern at the 2000 Grammy Awards. An in-depth, immersive education with the eminent Itzhak Perlman followed at The Perlman Music Program and The Juilliard School throughout the ensuing decade, during which Leopold instituted his breakthrough performance study The Renaissance of Classical Music (2008-2013) in New York City. 

Initiated by his Paris debut at the Louvre in 2008, Leopold’s Renaissance manifesto – with aims to “install classical music in contemporary culture through the prism of visual arts” – promptly began to materialize with the advocacy of Parisian art historian Diana Picasso, a granddaughter of the artist. By early 2011, Leopold - known then under his South Korean name - became the first classical artist to hold a solo recital series at The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, creating for its top-floor gallery the ten-part music installation “Soliloquy for Andy Warhol” at the invitation of Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA’s Chief Curator at Large. Biesenbach, who asserted that Leopold’s “movement, his body, his dramaturgy and the music form one strong, complex, multilayered audio-visual image”, guided the 23-year-old virtuoso in cultivating the nexus between classical music and performance art over the course of his two-month residency at MoMA, which formed striking juxtapositions between Andy Warhol’s Motion Pictures and repertoire ranging from J. S. Bach to Krzysztof Penderecki.

Leopold’s subsequent Renaissance projects struck a chord with an unusually diverse audience throughout New York. Uptown, his concerto debuts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center – the “dazzling, genuinely provocative” (The New York Times) presentation of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the world premiere of “Still Life” written for Leopold by Pulitzer nominee Christopher Cerrone – received national coverage on NBC’s Today Show and made the Year’s Highlights in The New York Times.  Downtown, rock icon Lou Reed presented Leopold in solo showcase at the avant-garde music space The Stone in the East Village, as Vogue, The New Yorker and Nowness documented the violin phenom’s every move, on and off the stage, at the premiere of his first theater piece “Till Dawn Sunday” in the West Village. A few blocks over in Chelsea, Leopold collaborated with the seminal performance artist Laurie Anderson at the Rubin Museum of Art, and with pop luminary Madonna in the recording studio and in performance at Gagosian Gallery. 

Leopold’s multifaceted classical music campaign proved similarly polymorphic across the pond. When the Royal Albert Hall delivered his first U.K. appearance in early 2012, the British youth culture bible i-D Magazine delegated Leopold to the cover of its spring volume ‘The Royalty Issue’, making him the first classical artist to front a major fashion magazine. With his “spectacular” (BBC News) London debut the following year at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Leopold became the second classical soloist ever – since Gidon Kremer in 1997 – to have been chosen to appear at the illustrious Meltdown Festival, headlining alongside Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie, and Patti Smith at Southbank Centre in June of 2013. Other highlights of Leopold's 2012-2013 concert season included his sold-out Australian debut at the Melbourne Festival and his return to Los Angeles at Royce Hall, presented by Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.

Commemorating Leopold’s five-year Renaissance is the upcoming studio album Labyrinth, his long-awaited debut record. Preceding this project was a 2005 limited edition featuring the works of Arvo Pärt, Leos Janácek and Francis Poulenc, recorded by Leopold at age fifteen for Universal Music Korea under his former name.

Born to a civil engineer father and a floral artist mother in South Korea, Leopold started his violin lessons at age five, quickly winning top prizes at national string competitions. He made his orchestral debut with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra at age ten, by then already having completed his first recital tour. Prior to his departure in 1999, Leopold was the subject of two daytime network television documentaries in Korea, which showcased his various artistic talents - including writing music, poetry and plays - in addition to playing the violin. Following his immigration to the United States at age 11, Leopold soon began performing as concerto soloist with symphony orchestras throughout California, while enrolling for middle school at the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica and for preparatory musical training at the Colburn School with Robert Lipsett. At age twelve, Leopold was awarded the loan of a 1735 Guarneri del Gesu from The Stradivari Society of Chicago, and was admitted to The Perlman Music Program in New York the following year. Leopold’s extensive studies with Itzhak Perlman during these formative years – which included the Berg and Shostakovich violin concertos – informed his “extraordinary, intelligent and beautiful” (The Washington Post) New York debut recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in 2009, which followed an early graduation from The Juilliard School and a first prize win at the 49th Annual YCA International Auditions.

No. 24 (2013)
Directed by Christian Weber

“He has a particular vision of how he wants to present classical music, and I'm very happy with that," Perlman told The Seattle Times in 2012 ahead of Leopold's Seattle Symphony debut at Benaroya Hall.  He is an extremely talented violinist who is very, very individual, It’s very personal to him," he continued. When an artist feels it that personally, the audience does, too.”