Neil Leonard is a sound artist, saxophonist and composer. He often performs his compositions for saxophone and electronics with top musicians and folkloric ensembles. Recent sound installations explore how global marketing impacts our listening, and were made in collaboration with bartenders, biologists, street criers and dock workers. For years, he has created projects engaging musicians living in both the United States and Cuba, where art is both a final result, and means to circumvent prohibition.
His compositions were featured by documenta 14 (Germany), Musicacustica (China), International Computer Music Convention (Canada), Tel Aviv Biennial for New Music (Israel), Moscow Autumn (Russia), Museo Riena Sofia (Spain), Jazz Plaza International Festival (Cuba), Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (USA) and in New York at Carnegie Hall, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, Roulette, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, Issue Project Room, Knitting Factory. Leonard’s ensemble featured Joanne Brackeen, Terence Blanchard and Robin Eubanks. Leonard performed and recorded with Juan Blanco, Alvin Curran, Richard Devine, Vijay Iyer, Phill Niblock, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner, Stephen Vitiello, Hall Wilner and Amnon Wolman.
Leonard composed the music for Relatives, by Tony Oursler and Constance DeJong that was presented by the Whitney Biennial. Leonard's created 32 multimedia works with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons that were featured by documenta 14, 11 Bienal de Habana (Cuba), 49th and 55th Venice Biennale (Italy), Guggenheim Museum (USA), MoMA NYC (USA). Leonard’s sound composition "Lavender Ruins” was commissioned by Fujiko Nakaya for her fog installation Fog Ruins, Franklin Park, Boston. Leonard performed with Phill Niblock in Ten Days Six Nights at the Tate Modern (UK).
Leonard's outdoor quadrophonic sound installation "Sonance for the Precession" is presently heard outside the Usdan Gallery at Bennington College, where it plays 30 minutes before sunset, daily from February 28-May 9. Leonard is the Artistic Director of the Interdisciplinary Arts Institute, at Berklee College of Music.
Leonard was a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Artist-in-Residence (2016); Fulbright Specialist Award recipient (2016); M.I.T. program in Art, Culture and Technology Research Affiliate (2014-15). Leonard is the Artistic Director of the Interdisciplinary Arts Institute at Berklee College of Music.