As a conductor, Lesley Leighton embraces a broad range of music, from the Renaissance to the Romantic Era, although she is particularly dedicated to twentieth and twenty-first century compositions.
She has conducted and sung on more than 85 film soundtracks, and has worked with Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Bramwell Tovey, Leonard Slatkin, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, Michael Tilson Thomas, Laura Jackson, and John Adams. Leighton has premiered more than 50 new compositions as a conductor since 2009, and most recently collaborated with composer John Wineglass for the premiere of his newest work for chorus and orchestra, Voices of the West, premiered in October 2018. In 2016, Leighton co-produced Los Angles Master Chorale’s David Lang national anthems album. Later this season, she will conduct Lang’s work crowd out with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She will also collaborate with Barbara Hannigan for Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress, in Leighton’s debut with the Ojai Festival in June 2019.
Ms. Leighton was named the first associate conductor in the history of Los Angeles Master Chorale in July 2011 following a year as assistant conductor. She was appointed artistic director of Los Robles Master Chorale in 2008, and music director of New West Symphony Chorus in 2009. She served as interim director of choral activities at La Sierra University during the 2013-14 academic year, at UCLA as director of choruses from 2014-16, and was appointed interim director of choral activities at California State University San Bernardino in June of 2016. In addition, she regularly conducted the Los Angeles Master Chorale Chamber Singers for six years, and premiered works annually with them at Walt Disney Concert Hall.