By Madalyn Watson | Arts & Life Editor
Percussionist and Ohio native Cameron Leach will perform a solo recital for Baylor students at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The concert will be held in the Meadows Recital Hall located in the Glennis McCrary Music Building after teaching a master class.
The soloist and chamber musician’s class will be held between 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. earlier the same day. The recital and class are a part of a brief tour in Texas starting with the Higdon Percussion Concerto performance Tuesday at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
As a percussionist, Leach strives for relatability with his music so that he can reach a wider audience rather than just playing for other classical musicians.
“I’m not a violinist,” Leach said. “I’m not a pianist. I’m not a vocalist. I hit things and there’s just this natural connection that I think we all have to that idea of just hitting something. So in my performances, I want there to always be relatability and that can happen in a lot of different ways.”
Leach said a strategy he uses to connect to his audience is through the use of electronics. Elision, one of the solo programs that he incorporates into his show at Baylor, is an entirely electroacoustic show.
“I’m doing that in order to be able to create bigger sounds and different sounds beyond just myself, but also it’s relatable for people who are used to hearing electronic music all day every day, especially a young audience,” Leach said.
With all three solo programs that he will incorporate into Leach concert on Thursday, he is blurring the lines between genres. He listed his music as a mix of electronic, rock, classical and all sorts of others sounds that complement each other.
“I’m envisioning myself in 10 years still playing recital halls and with orchestras, but also playing in nightclubs and big stage productions, trying to bring solo percussion well beyond where it is right now,” Leach said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”
Leach will also perform parts of his more traditional solo series Synthesis, which includes acoustic, electroacoustic and theatrical works.
“You can have the best intentions with having three set programs, but I’m still bringing a customized version of all of those to Baylor,” Leach said. “At any time, I probably have like three hours of music, ready to go, and you just have to pick from what you have.”
After touring for nearly two years, he is also introducing an experimental solo series to his repertoire, Seven Short Stories, which he will perform for the first time on Jan. 22 at Short North Stage in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Todd Meehan, an associate professor in percussion and director of the instrumental division at Baylor’s School of Music, said Leach is a perfect example of what students should do when they are pursuing a career in touring as a classical musician.
“What he did before he launched his professional career is he reached out to a bunch of people who have gone before him [and] who have done it,” Meehan said. “He is one of these guys who is just crazy motivated to do this thing. He built his professional profile, he got a following on social media, and now he’s out there touring the country.”
Meehan, who performed in December at Carnegie Hall, first met Leach when he served on a judging panel for a competition at the Percussive Art Society International Convention where Leach won first place. However, Leach’s online presence preceded him because Meehan was following his career on social media before they had ever met.
“[Leach] reached out a couple of months after that just to talk about him launching his professional career,” Meehan said. “Whether it’s my own students or students from other places, I always try to make myself available to share my story and to help in any way I can.”
Leach’s solo recital on Thursday is free and open to the public. Students can receive recital credit for attending.
To learn more about Cameron Leach and his future performances, his website (http://www.cleachmusic.com/) and Instagram @cleachmusic feature more information and frequent updates.