Campus News

Who is Leah Brockman?

May 18, 2021

Yvonne Gay

A portrait of a woman.
Leah Brockman, director of Ensemble Operations
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

In Leah Brockman’s opinion, the horn is the most versatile and beautiful instrument. Find out why in this installment of Who Am I?

Name: Leah Brockman

Department and location on campus: Conducting and Ensembles Department in the Conservatory of Music, located in Bibbins Hall Central 5

Job title: Director of Ensemble Operations

What does your job entail? I manage the operations of all large ensembles at the Conservatory of Music. I work with the various conductors to plan and procure their repertoire, coordinate logistics and personnel, draft rehearsal schedules, and plan performances for each school year. I am also the point of contact for all students in the large ensemble program and oversee a large team of student ensemble managers.

How many years have you been at Oberlin? Almost three years. I started in August 2018.

Favorite instrument and why? My favorite instrument is the horn. I started playing the horn when I was 10 years old and both of my degrees are in horn performance. It’s beautiful; surely one of the most versatile orchestral instruments, in my (likely biased) opinion.

Favorite musical piece and why? Picking a favorite musical piece or composer is a very challenging task for musicians. If I have to choose just one, it would be Gustav Mahler (particularly his 1st, 2nd, and 5th symphonies). The 5th is my favorite, as it is a very nostalgic piece for me. When I played professionally, I had a trial period for an orchestral job I eventually won in a Chinese Orchestra (Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra). We performed Mahler’s 5th Symphony across China, on tour for a month, so I grew very familiar with the piece and it quickly became a favorite. Mahler is one of my favorite composers in general, though, because he wrote so well for brass musicians. His compositions always feature the brass (and horns in particular) in very heroic and beautifully sonorous ways. His music is thrilling to play!

What was the most memorable performance you ever attended? I’ve attended many memorable performances, but performed in far more that stand out in my memory. Some highlights include playing a John Williams [film score] concert when I was a student at Eastman conducted by Williams himself; playing Mahler 1 in Los Angeles at Disney Hall during its inaugural year; and playing in a massive combined orchestra concert in Guangzhou, China, featuring Lang Lang supported by 100 other pianists (all playing grand pianos) and a 5,000 member chorus.

What are your personal interests? I’m a new mom. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ella, on February 19, 2021. When I’m not working, I enjoy cooking, traveling, and spending time with my family.    

Favorite food? An ooey-gooey cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting (hold the raisins).

Favorite Quote? “Just keep swimming!” Dory from Finding Nemo.    


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