Annual re-engagements on 5 continents and a 130-CD discography attest to the burgeoning popularity of Leslie Howard, established worldwide as a concert pianist, composer, conductor, chamber musician and scholar. A citizen both of Britain and Australia – born in Melbourne but resident in London since 1972 – Dr. Howard has earned an extraordinary claim to immortality, having accomplished a feat unequalled by any solo artist in recording history – his 97-CD survey (for Hyperion) of the complete piano music of Franz Liszt. Accomplished within 14 years, it encompasses 300+ world premieres, including works prepared by Dr. Howard from Liszt’s still unpublished manuscripts, and works unheard since Liszt’s lifetime. This monumental project merited Dr. Howard’s entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, 6 Grands Prix du Disque and – all presented to him by the President of Hungary – the Medal of St. Stephen, the Pro Cultura Hungarica award, and a mounted bronze cast of Liszt’s hand. At an internationally telecast ceremony from Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on Dr. Howard “Member in the Order of Australia” for his “service to the arts as piano soloist, composer, musicologist and mentor to young musicians.” Highlights of Dr. Howard’s 2004-2005 concert season included an extensive Asian tour, with recitals and master classes throughout China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. His triumphant return to America included his highly anticipated recital at the 2005 International Keyboard Institute & Festival in Manhattan, for which he received accolades from the New York Times. Dr. Howard also realised his dream to conduct Liszt’s monumental Oratorio Christus in a rare and much-praised revival in Leicester.Leslie Howard has appeared internationally with many of the world’s finest orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, English Northern Philharmonia, RTE National Symphony of Dublin, Hanover Band, Utah Symphony, Utah Philharmonic, Maryland Symphony, Mexico Philharmonic, Orchestra della Scala, RAI Toscana, San Remo Symphony, Orchestre de Cannes, Budapest Phiharmonic, Budapest Symphony, the orchestras of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland and Tasmania in Australia, and the orchestras of Pretoria, Cape Town and Zimbabwe in Africa. He has been soloist with such renowned conductors as Claudio Abbado, Adam Fischer, Roy Goodman, James Judd, Joseph Silverstein, Barry Tuckwell, Sir Charles Groves, Vernon Handley, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Elyakum Shapirra, Jansug Kakhidze, Arthur Fiedler, Fritz Rieger, Alexander Lazarev, Hiroyuki Iwaki, and Sir Charles Mackerras.
Dr. Howard’s performances of chamber music and lieder include collaborations with some of the greatest artists of our time, including the Amadeus, Britten and Endellion String Quartets, Salvatore Accardo, Augustin Dumay, Erick Friedman, Ani Kavafian, Benny Goodman, Charles Neidich, Steven Isserlis, Nathaniel Rosen, Torlief Thedeen, Geoffrey Parsons, Sir Thomas Allen, Yvonne Kenny and Dame Felicity Lott. He has been a featured artist at many international music festivals, including the American festivals of Santa Fe, Newport, La Jolla, Palm Beach and Seattle, and at such European festivals as Brescia-Bergamo, Como, Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Bath, Camden, Cheltenham, Warwick and Wexford.
Dr. Howard’s discography includes many important world premiere recordings, such as the four piano sonatas of Anton Rubinstein, the 2nd and 3rd piano sonatas of Tchaikovsky, a 2-disc survey of Glazunov’s piano music, and a 3-disc collection of Percy Grainger’s piano works. Also notable is the highly acclaimed disc entitled “Rare Piano Encores”, a Stravinsky disc with Abbado and the London Symphony, a disc of Scandinavian piano sonatas (Sibelius, Gade, Palmgren & Grieg), and the Granados Goyescas. Most prominent amongst his 97-CD Liszt survey is the first complete recording of all 17 works for piano and orchestra, including Dr. Howard’s reconstructions of the 3rd Piano Concerto, De Profundis, and Concerto pathétique. Dr. Howard’s recordings appear on the Hyperion, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Nimbus, Cala, Pearl, ABC Eloquence, Musical Heritage Society and Merlin labels.
As a composer, Dr. Howard’s works include an opera Hreidar the Fool, a ballet Fruits of the Earth, and numerous orchestral, choral and solo compositions. As an arranger, he has written completions for unfinished or unrealised works of Bach, Mozart, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin and Shostakovich. In 2003, Boosey & Hawkes published Dr. Howard’s “New Corrected Edition” for the 2-piano score of Rachmaninoff’s 4th Piano Concerto (in collaboration with Robert Threlfall). He has also edited several volumes of Liszt Society Publications for Hardie Press and Editio Musica Budapest. With Michael Short, he has published Ferenc Liszt-a List of his Musical Works (Rugginenti, 2004) and he has two books in progress: Ferenc Liszt – A Thematic Catalogue and The Music of Liszt.