Cheryl E. Leonard is a composer, performer, and instrument builder whose works investigate sounds, structures, and objects from the natural world. Her projects cultivate stones, wood, water, ice, sand, shells, feathers, and bones as musical instruments, and often feature one-of-a-kind sculptural instruments and field recordings from remote locales. Leonard is fascinated by the subtle textures and intricacies of sounds, especially very quiet phenomena. She uses microphones to explore aural worlds within her sound sources, and develops compositions that highlight the unique voices she discovers. Most of her recent projects address environmental issues, with a focus on climate change and extinction of species.
Leonard’s music has been performed worldwide and is available on multiple record labels. Her awards include residencies at Djerassi, Kunstnarhuset Messen, the Arctic Circle, Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, and Villa Montalvo, and grants from the National Science Foundations’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, American Composers Forum, American Music Center, and ASCAP.