LAURENCE LESSER is a laureate of the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and a participant in the historic Heifetz-Piatigorsky concerts and recordings. Lesser has been soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the New Japan Philharmonic, and orchestras worldwide. He has collaborated with conductors such as Ozawa, Mehta, Levine, Rostropovich, Tilson Thomas, and many others. He was the first to record the Schoenberg Cello Concerto, and in 1966 was the first to perform it with orchestra since its 1936 introduction by Emanuel Feuermann. Last year, he performed the complete Bach Suites in one evening at NEC’s Jordan Hall to great critical acclaim, and his recording of the cycle is underway. As a chamber musician he has participated at the Casals, Marlboro, Ravinia, Menlo, Spoleto, and Santa Fe festivals and has been a guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has served as a member of juries for numerous international competitions, including the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Paulo Competition in Helsinki, and the Feuermann Competition in Berlin.
In a life full of successful concerts, Lesser has always been passionate about teaching. He came to New England Conservatory in Boston in 1974 as a member of the faculty after being the teaching assistant of Gregor Piatigorsky at the University of Southern California and spending four years at the Peabody Institute. Lesser currently teaches an international class of cellists at the New England Conservatory. He served as president of NEC from 1983 to 1996, and as its acting chief executive officer for the 2006/07 academic year. Lesser plays a 1622 cello made by the brothers Amati in Cremona, Italy. His recordings of the complete Beethoven works for cello and piano with Hae-Sun Paik were released last year. Other recordings have appeared on the RCA, Columbia, Melodiya, and CRI labels.