Dr. Leslie Cain has been widely praised for her delicate touch, range of sound and focused intensity at the keyboard. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she completed her Bachelor's degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where she studied with André-Michel Schub. She subsequently earned her Master's and Doctoral degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara in the studio of Paul Berkowitz. Both of her collegiate professors are themselves former students of legendary pianist Rudolf Serkin.
Dr. Cain's primary interest as a pianist and scholar is French music of the early 20th century, especially Ravel, Debussy, and Satie. Her doctoral dissertation, "Ravel the Existentialist?" explores how the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre provides new insight into the life and music of Ravel. She is also an alumna of the Conservatoire Américain, the renowned institute of music held each summer at the Chateau de Fontainebleau, France.
As a chamber musician, Dr. Cain especially enjoys collaborating with string players. During her graduate studies, she was a member of UCSB's fellowship chamber ensemble, the Young Artist Piano Quartet, and has performed numerous duo recitals of violin, viola and cello repertoire, including a recent appearance at the Appaloosa Festival in Front Royal, Virginia.
Selected Awards & Recognitions
Dr. Cain has performed in master classes taught by many of the world's foremost pianists, including
Murray Perahia, Jeremy Denk, Gilbert Kalish and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. She was one of six pianists invited by the Weill Music Institute to perform in Richard Goode's all-Debussy master class at Carnegie Hall, as part of the inaugural season of the Resnick Education Wing.
She has also performed in chamber music master classes with Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, the Danish String Quartet, and cellist Lynn Harrell.
Dr. Cain was a top prizewinner at the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, receiving special recognition for the competition's best performance of a Hungarian Rhapsody. She subsequently performed at the annual conference of the American Liszt Society at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was awarded first place statewide in the Music Teachers National Association Senior Piano Competition in California, earning Second Prize in the Southwest Division.
Dr. Cain is also a two-time grand prizewinner of the Cypress College Piano Competition.
During her studies at UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Cain was awarded the Martin Kamen Fellowship and Erno Daniel Memorial Award for Distinguished Performance in Piano. At Cal State Los Angeles, she was named the Outstanding Undergraduate in the Department of Philosophy in her junior year.