Monica Jakuc Leverett
Monica Jakuc (pronounced Ya-kutch) Leverett is the Elsie Irwin Sweeney Professor Emerita of Music at Smith College, where she taught since 1969. She retired from the faculty in June 2008 in order to play more concerts, spend time in nature, and enjoy her new husband, old growth forest expert Bob Leverett. She has given concerts on three continents, and is a frequent solo and chamber music performer in Western Massachusetts, playing on both early and modern pianos. She is often heard as a fortepianist with Arcadia Players, and as a modern pianist in the Florence Piano Trio, the Blaich/Leverett Duo, with tenor Peter W. Shea, and The Chamber Music Society at Wistariahurst in Holyoke, Massachusetts. She has commissioned a number of works by living composers.
New York audiences first heard Ms. Jakuc Leverett at Alice Tully Hall in 1980 in "A Program of Twentieth-Century Music for Two Pianos" with colleague Kenneth Fearn. Subsequently, her performance of Bach's "Goldberg" Variations at Merkin Hall was hailed by The New York Times as "an auspicious debut." Her 1988 London debut included the premier of a piece written for her by Ronald Perera. She has toured Japan and Alaska and appears often on both U.S. coasts. Ms. Jakuc Leverett also presents lecture-recitals on women composers and has been a featured artist at International Association of Women in Music concerts in London and Washington, D.C.
|Listen to a 2008 radio interview|
|“Field Notes” with Laurie Saunders.|
|Courtesy WFCR Public Radio.|
Inspired by Malcolm Bilson, Ms. Jakuc Leverett has performed on early pianos since 1986. She is a frequent guest artist at The Frederick Historic Piano Collection in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, and was an organizer and performer at the international HaydnFest 1990, co-sponsored by Smith and the Westfield Center for Early Keyboard Studies. She has given a fortepiano recital in the Klementinum, Prague, Czech Republic. A board member of Arcadia Players, she frequently performs with them on her two Paul McNulty fortepianos: a 5½ octave Walter design (c.1803), and a 6½ octave copy of Graf's Op. 318 (c. 1819). The Worcester Telegram and Gazette hailed her “insistent and amazing artistry” in a recent performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with Arcadia Players at Tuckerman Hall.
Ms. Jakuc Leverett's discography includes fortepiano sonatas by Marianne von Martinez, Marianna von Auenbrugger, and Joseph Haydn on Titanic Records; and Francesca LeBrun's complete Opus 1 Sonatas for fortepiano and violin, with Dana Maiben, on Dorian Discovery. She has just released a new CD, “Fantasies for Fortepiano,” with works by Mozart, C.P.E. Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven's “Moonlight” Sonata. It is available on cdbaby.com.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Ms. Jakuc Leverett received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Juilliard, where she studied with James Friskin and Beveridge Webster. She has also worked with Leon Fleisher, Russell Sherman, and Konrad Wolff, a pupil of Artur Schnabel.