Hazel LeachGermany Berlin
Born in Tynemouth, (GB) in 1956. Having completed a combined diploma course at the Newcastle School of Music (classical & light music) she spent the next few years working as a free-lance musician/arranger, playing flute and saxophone.
The move to Holland came in 1979, where she studied for several years at the Muziek Pedagogische Akademie in Leeuwarden. From 1985-2010 she was a lecturer in music at the Arnhem Conservatorium, teaching arranging, songwriting and a wide range of jazz theory-related subjects.
From 1992-2009 she was bandleader and composer for The United Women’s Orchestra, an international big band based in Germany. With the UWO she has produced 3 CDs, and several of her pieces for concert bigband have won international awards.
In 2002 she was resident composer at the Omi International Music Residency in New York, USA, following it up as Curator in 2005, also guesting as lecturer at the Harvard & Columbia Universities and giving workshops & performances with the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra (SWOJO) in Seattle. In 2006 she was invited as ‘Artist-in-residence’ to the Berklee College of Music in Boston USA.
In 2009/2010 she was composer for the award-winning “Paradies 2” project, organised by the IBA (Internationale Bauausstellung) in Germany, writing music for, with and about a village: “Das Geheimnis von Schlabendorf” was a huge project, setting the social history of the village to music and involving more than 120 players and performers.
A set of 8 songs entitled "Songs from the Edge", recorded in 2010 by the German/Dutch quartet "Plots", featuring vocalist Simin Tander.
A more recent project is the “Friedenssinfonie: Dona nobis pacem”, a 4-movement symphony written in 2014 for young german and polish players.
She has been the artistic director of the Composers’ Orchestra Berlin since autumn 2010, with (so far) 4 CD-releases and the “Cobblestones’ Festival in Berlin in 2016.
Hazel Leach is a prolific composer in a wide variety of forms. Much of her music has been written to commission and includes music for choir, chamber ensembles, orchestra and bigband.