Leonid Igudesman has been a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1980, when he was hired by Kurt Herbert Adler.
Leon was born in 1954 in Leningrad, USSR, presently St. Petersburg, Russia, into a family of musicians. His father was a member of the Rimsky-Korsakov string quartet, and Concertmaster of the Leningrad Opera Theater. His mother was an accomplished pianist who graduated from the Conservatory while pregnant with Leon.
Leon started violin lessons with his father at the age of four. Later he received a wonderful (and free) education at the Leningrad Conservatory under the guidance of Professor Boris Gutnikov. Mr. Gutnikov taught at the renowned Classroom No. 25, where a hundred years ago Leopold Auer taught many legendary violinists, such as Heifetz, Elman, Zimbalist, and Seidel. Mr. Igudesman received the third prize in the 1977 All Russian Violin Competition.
During Leon’s last years in the USSR he yearned for a chance to see the Hawaiian Islands. In 1978 he emigrated from the USSR. Immediately upon arrival in New York in 1979 he won an audition for the Honolulu Symphony. Leon determined to live in the island paradise forever. However, when a powerful storm blew the roof off his Maui hotel, he decided to move to the mainland.
In his spare time Mr. Igudesman tours as a soloist and a chamber musician; he has recently played in Washington, D.C., Vienna, and Buenos Aires.