Leslie Savoy Burrs has been acclaimed as an award-winning performer, composer and educator. Mr. Burrs was commissioned by NewCourtland Elder Services to write the opera TRANSITIONS: SUNG STORIES. An excerpted live performance of this opera was presented at the 2012 national OPERA America Conference in Philadelphia, PA. In addition Mr. Burrs was invited by OPERA America to be a guest panelist for their Creative Aging seminar presented at the conference. This session demonstrated the unique model Mr. Burrs established to address an effective approach that combines opera, the humanities and community engagement while contributing a new work to the American opera repertoire. A documentary film created by ONI was also presented at the seminar. The documentary highlights Mr. Burrs’ methodology for engaging senior citizens in residential settings through interactive music workshops.
In 2008 Leslie Burrs collaborated with the international award winning author, poet, and sculptor Barbara Chase Riboud to create the opera Portrait Of A Nude Woman As Cleopatra based on Ms. Riboud’s award winning book of poetry of the same name. This work premiered June 2008 with a subsequent CD recording release on iTunes by Opera North, Inc. Presents, August 2012. Mr. Burrs has many commissions to his credit, two of which resulted in a new American opera titled Vanqui for Opera/Columbus with a grant from the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Foundation and The Geron Fantasy for Orchestra for the Charleston Symphony with a grant award from Meet the Composer. He has appeared as guest soloist and composer with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore, Atlanta, Louisville, New Jersey and Richmond Symphonies Orchestras. He is the recipient of the 2007 and 2004 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant. In 2002, Mr. Burrs was the first composer ever to receive the National Opera Association’s coveted Legacy Award for his American opera, Vanqui. Mr. Burrs has served as artist-in-residence at major universities, colleges and arts councils throughout the United States. As an administrator Mr. Burrs has had success coordinating, fund raising and producing concert events and nonprofit organization cultural activities over the course of twenty-five years.