Stephen Leisring

Steve Leisring
  • Associate Dean for Internationalization and Special Performance Projects
  • Professor of Trumpet
  • Brass & Percussion

Contact Info

128 Murphy Hall
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3013


Steve Leisring, Professor of Trumpet

M.M. The Mannes College of Music, New School University; B.M. The University of North Texas; B.M.E. The University of North Texas

Steve Leisring came to KU in 2003 after performing for 14 seasons with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Canary Islands, Spain. As a member of the orchestra, he performed in major halls and festivals in Europe including London, Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Segovia, Zaragoza, Valencia, Schleswig Holstein in Germany, World Expo ’92 in Seville and ’98 in Lisbon;  etc. 

He can be heard on more than 30 commercial CDs on labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Reference, Origin, and Auvidis-Valois. Most recently, on the NAXOS recording, "Landscapes," he is a soloist on Copland's "Quiet City" with the KU Wind Ensemble under the direction of Paul W. Popiel, and can be heard with the Kansas City Symphony release of Gustav Holst’s “Planets” with Michael Stern. Earlier, he was trumpet soloist on two world premiere recordings by the late Spanish composer, Enrique Guimera. Many recordings made with the Tenerife Symphony won major awards in Europe, including the 1995 “Cannes Classical Award*” for Roberto Gerhard”s “Symphonies 1&3.”               

*(since 2011, the Cannes Classical Award is known as ICMA, International Classical Music Awards)

Steve Leisring has performed and taught in 20 countries, as an orchestral musician, clinician, and soloist in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the USA. Besides the Tenerife Symphony, he has performed extensively with the Kansas City Symphony, (having playing substitute principal, 2nd, and 3rd trumpet) as well as the Dallas, Milwaukee, Charleston, San Diego Symphonies in the US; Gothenburg Symphony (Sweden) with Neemi Jarvi; Madrid Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Guest Principal in the Tianjin, Shenzhen, Harbin, and Tokyo Symphonies in China and Japan. In 2019 he returned to Spain for a performance of Mahler Symphony #2 with Christoph

Eschenbach and the National Orchestra of Spain. He has been a featured soloist with the Harbin and Sichuan Symphony Orchestras in China, and Maryland Symphony in the USA as well as various bands in the USA, Europe, and Asia. As a guest professor, he has recently been invited to Latvia, Poland, Estonia, Finland, Ukraine, China, and Taiwan.

In 2006, Steve was one of the first western performers at the China Trumpet Guild Conference in Beijing, which has led to more than 20 appearances in conservatories, universities, and music schools throughout 20 cities in China as a soloist and teacher. For more than a decade, he has been a regular guest at the Central Conservatory in Beijing and has been invited to teach at all but one of China’s 11 official conservatories of music.

While Professor Leisring’s early playing career was primarily in the orchestral setting, his first “major” in college was Jazz, influenced by his high school teacher Carl Berg, who was a member of the Harry James and Les Brown Orchestras in the 1940s.

In the last decade, Steve has enjoyed being invited to perform often with KU's Downbeat Award-winning Jazz Ensemble 1  under the direction of Dan Gailey, where he has been a soloist in the Kennedy Center as well as the Montreux, Vienne, and Umbria Jazz Festivals in Switzerland, France, and Italy, as well as in Germany.  He also performed as 1st trumpet in a brass ensemble with Delfeayo Marsalis and his father Ellis at a performance at the prestigious Tanglewood Music Festival.

Some of the musicians professor Leisring has performed with include soloists and conductors from many genres, including vocalists Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland, Barbara Hendricks, Frederica Von Stade, Arlene Auger, and Alfredo Kraus; violinists Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Gil Shaham, Shlomo Mintz, Silvia Marcovici, Frank Peter Zimmerman; pianists Murray Perahia, Phillippe Entremont, Bela Davidovich, Alicia de Larrocha, Ivo Pogorelich, Krystian Zimmerman, Emanuel Ax, Leon Fleischer; and conductors Neemi Jarvi, Raymond Leppard, Jesus Lopez Cobos, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Stern, Gerard Schwarz, Osmo Vanska, Clas Peter Flor, and Maxim Shostakovich to name a few.

Outside of the Classical realm, he has worked on stage with the likes of Bill Conti, Phil Woods, Delfeayo and Ellis Marsalis, Diana Krall, Indigo Girls, Art Garfunkel, Kenny G, Patti Lupone, Englebert Humperdinct, and Bobby Watson. Throughout his career, he has worked in orchestras and other settings with many well-known trumpet players including Armando Ghitalla, Ronald Romm, Bernard Adelstein, Ryan Anthony, Jens Lindemann, Adan Delgado, Mark Inouye, Pasi Pirinen, Dai Zhonghui, Mark O’Keefe,  Charles Butler, Ray Riccomini, Rick Giangiulio, Bert Truax, Tom Hooten and many more.

Professor Leisring is in demand as a teacher and clinician both in the US and abroad. His former students have been appointed to positions in orchestras, universities, and military bands, have been finalists in national competitions, and have performed with groups such as the New York Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, European Youth Orchestra, Chicago Civic Orchestra, and National Orchestras of Spain. Others have gone on to success in the fields of teaching, medicine, law, and business.

In 2013, the KU Trumpet Ensemble was the official Kansas representative to perform in the Inauguration Parade of President Barack Obama. Previously, KU Trumpet Ensembles under his direction have toured China and performed at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Australia. He has also been on the faculty of the Conservatorio Superior de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Academy of Orchestral Studies of the OST, and Arona Conservatory in Spain.

Professor Leisring has given masterclasses at major U.S. universities such as the University of North Texas, Hartt College of Music, Universities of Oregon and Illinois, Georgia State, and others.

While in HS and college, Steve set out to "solve the mystery" of trumpet and studied with 25 well-known teachers over a ten-year period. Professor Leisring's former teachers included a wide range of trumpet pedagogues in the US, such as Vincent Penzarella, Richard Giangiulio, Bert Truax, Don Jacoby, Leonard Candelaria, and Keith Johnson. As a student, he also performed for and worked with Adolf Herseth, Phil Smith, Vincent Cichowicz, William Vacchiano, Armando Ghitalla, Bernard Adelstein, John Ware, and Mario Guarneri.

His "last teacher" Vincent Penzarella of the NY Philharmonic (ret), helped him immensely to put the information he had obtained into a logical approach that helped win him the first professional audition he took for the Tenerife Symphony while in Graduate School in NYC, and the University of Kansas was the first University position he applied for. This multi-viewed approach has served him well as a sought-after "problem solver" for students of all ages.

Additionally in Spain for about 5 years in the 1990s, Professor Leisring played and coached in Spain's premier National Baseball League, and has a keen interest in the connection between peak performance in music and in sports. He has written pedagogical articles published by the International Trumpet Guild Journal and the International Musician Magazine.


“…the playing by KU faculty soloists Steve Leisring and Margaret Marco is first-rate.”  Recommended.

Ronald E. Grames for FANFARE Magazine


 “Steve Leisring and Margaret Marco are the UK faculty trumpet and English horn soloists in an expressive reading of Copland’s Quiet City. Fine playing by both…” 

Barry Kilpatrick for 2013 American Record Guide


“The two soloists - Steve Leisring on trumpet and Margaret Marco on cor anglais - are outstanding..”

Dan Morgan for Musicweb-International July 2013


“….displaying excellent technique and precision….notable for its perfect blend, balance, attention to detail, and for the way the two performers matched articulation and style.” and “Leisring returned to perform “Liebelied” by Fritz Kreisler with the requisite tonal beauty and impeccable phrasing. “

the second solo of the evening featured Steve Leisring on the traditional classic “La Virgen de la Macarena.” With a true sense of drama and energy, Leisring began the opening cadenza of the work from offstage and then entered to thunderous applause from the audience. As the work unfolded Leisring navigated the tricky cadenza-like nature of the sectionalized work and was especially effective in going up to the stratosphere on the trumpet.

International Trumpet Guild Journal January 2012