The Brazilian pianist, Simone Leitão, got her early piano training from: Linda Bustani (pupil of Iakov Zak), Homero Magalhães (pupil of Alfred Cortot and Bruno Seidlhofer) and Fernanda Canaud. She holds BM in Music Education by the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (University of Rio de Janeiro) in 1993, and Master in Music in Piano Performance from Norges MusikkHögskole (The Norwegian Academy of Music), Oslo, class of Geir Braaten (pupil of Yvonne Lefébure) in 1996. While in Europe she was also a pupil of Christine Paraschos as well. Leitão graduated as DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts - 2009) in piano performance at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music, in the studio of Ivan Davis (pupil of Vladimir Horowitz), with a minor in Musicology. Simone Leitão was a teaching assistant of the Keyboard Department of the institution. This highly competitive position granted her a full scholarship and stipend. Master-casses include: International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes College of Music, New York 1999 (Classes with the eminent British critic Bryce Morrison and Bulgarian pianist Pavlina Dokovska); Rencontres Musicales de Genèvè, 1995 (classes with Christine Paraschos, USA and Sergei Senkov, Russia) and Thy Masterclass, Denmark 1994 and 1995 (Paraschos, Igor Laszko and Senkov). In 2006, Leitão was one of the finalists at the International Villa-Lobos Competition in São Paulo, Brazil, where she performed at Sala São Paulo. She was awarded Honorable Mention at the 2006 Concerto Competition at the University of Miami, with her performance of the Sergei Rachmaninov second concerto.
Since her debut in Rio de Janeiro at the Brazilian Conservatory concert Hall in 1987, Simone Leitão has performed in many major Halls in her country as well as abroad and was laureated at many important national and south-american international competitions. She has frequently performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Brazil, USA, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany and Norway and toured with the Grammy Award winner, Norwegian violinist Ole Böhn in Brazil.
Known for her intense vitality, ample technical means, strong rhythmic drive and fire in her performances, Simone Leitão continues to rise as one of the most exciting pianists of her generation to emerge from Brazil. Simone always performs at her highest level and is not afraid to take risks. Her performances are full of character and even the most standard pieces sound fresh in her hands. She holds an active career as soloist in the Americas, Europe and China. Simone is the Artistic Director of Brasil Classical, an organization that promotes Brazil's symphonic music, its composers and interpreters in USA and fosters Brazil's music education program, by donating the proceeds of the concerts to purchase quality instruments for Brazilian young musicians.
With a prolific repertoire which ranges from Byrd, J.S. Bach and Rameau to Guarnieri, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Alberto Ginastera and Prokofiev, Scriabin and Sergei Rachmaninov, Simone Leitão is a curious and creative interpreter who is able to find always, a more communicative way to present the music of the past and present to the 21st century audience. With a strong committment with today's composers of her motherland, Simone frequently performs works which were written specially for her.
Simone Leitão's 2009 concert season included a fully sponsored tour in Brazil's most important music venues, recitals in the USA, the launching of the Brazilian Classical Series, and the release of her first CD. Her repertoire for this season is dedicated solely to German composers. In 2010, Brazil's ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attended one of her concerts. For 2011, she will launch her first solo CD with an extensive tour in Brazil, including this country's most important music halls. She will also appear as soloist for The Amazon Philharmonic, São Paulo City Orchestra (Orquestra Experimental de Repertório) and The Miami Symphony Orchestra. Simone lives between the USA and Brazil. Her recitals, chamber and orchestra appearances have taken her to halls such as The Knight Concert Hall at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Sala São Paulo, Sala Cecília Meireles, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Teatro São Pedro, Linderman Saal, to name a few. On March 2012 Leitão will present her Carnegie Hall debut at the Weill Recital Hall with her trio.
Simone Leitão has frequently played solo recitals as well as recorded for nationwide TV Senado and TVE as well as nationwide public radio Radio MEC in Brazil. She has published articles about music and society in Brazil's largest newspaper: O Globo.