Leah Rankin


About Me: 

A native of Buffalo, New York, Leah Rankin is currently a graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She graduated cum laude from the University of Rochester in May 2010 where she received bachelor’s degrees in both English and music performance, and a Certificate in Ethnomusicology from the Eastman School of Music.


Leah Rankin studied cello in Buffalo with Feng Hew, Associate Principal Cellist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. She was a member of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra (GBYO) for three years, and in 2006 she toured as principal cellist to New York City for GBYO’s Carnegie Hall debut.

At the University of Rochester, Leah has performed for visitors such as Colon Powell, Anderson Cooper, Stephen Chu, and Bill Nye. As an undergraduate, Leah studied cello at the Eastman School of Music with String Chair, Alan Harris. She performed as principal cellist with the University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra (URCO), directed by Dr. David Harman, for three years. During the 2008-09 winter holiday she toured with URCO to Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile where she performed for the United States Ambassador, Paul Simon. At this time URCO also collaborated with the Fundación Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Chile directed by Felipe Hidalgo. During the 2009-2010 school year Leah performed with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra under conductors such as Neil Varon, William Weinert, Doug Lowry, and Jeff Tyzik. Leah also won the 2010 River Campus Concerto Competition, which allowed her to perform as a soloist with the University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra. Leah co-founded the Meliora String Quartet in 2006 - the premier professional string quartet at the University of Rochester’s River Campus - and managed the quartet during her remaining four years of study. Leah worked as Executive Concert Office Assistant in the River Campus Music Department from 2006-2010. She was also a musician and dancer for the Eastman Gamelan Ensemble, directed by Eastman Professor of Ethnomusicology Ellen Koskoff and Visiting Associate Professor of Gamelan I Nyoman Suadin.

Leah is a championship Irish dancer. In 2007 she co-founded the University of Rochester’s Celtic Club in which she taught fellow undergraduates about Irish music, dance and culture. As co-president and business manager of Celtic, Leah helped to choreograph dance routines, organize performances on and off campus (such as Celtic’s guest performance during the 2009 Rochester Irish Festival), and produce annual St. Patrick’s Day shows. Leah also studied Irish music on the cello with musicians from the Rochester chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. In early June 2010, Leah toured with these musicians to Waterford, Ireland for a week of Irish dance and music workshops and performances.

During the summer of 2009, Leah interned with the Buffalo Spree Magazine. She published weekly blogs about Buffalo’s free concert series including Thursday at the Square and Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor. She also helped to produce the Buffalo Spree Performing Arts Guide, a supplement to the magazine that details the upcoming seasons of Buffalo’s artistic organizations. Leah’s work was published in the Buffalo Spree Magazine, the Forever Young newspaper, and online at www.buffalospree.com.


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13 years 32 weeks