Gina Leishman – Short Bio

Gina Leishman is a composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and performer, British born but resident in the US since seemingly forever, having fled the goldfish bowl of Old Europe. She composes for theater, opera, dance, film, television and concert stage, and has garnered numerous awards. Collaborations with other artists include directors Karin Coonrod, Robert Woodruff, Lisa Peterson and Joseph Chaikin, writers Ellen McLaughlin, Tony Kushner and Naomi Wallace, choreographers David Gordon, Bebe Miller and Deborah Slater, composer Doug Wieselman, and performance artists Rinde Eckert and John Kelly. Her ensembles include the long-standing septet Kamikaze Ground Crew, a vehicle for original composition; the Mr. Wau-Wa band, a quintet dedicated to the songs of Bertolt Brecht; and various quartets in support of her solo work. Recordings are available on Koch Jazz, New World Records, Busmeat and GCQ Records. She is also an award-winning narrator of audio-books. She lives in New York City.

Full Biography (Download pdf)

C.V. (Download pdf)

PHOTOS (downloadable)


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The Leishman Songbook:
Geography (2018)
Baseless Rumors (2011)
In My Skin (2007)
Bed Time (2004)

With Kamikaze Ground Crew:
Postcards From the High Wire (2007)
Covers (2000)
Madam Marie’s Temple of Knowledge (1993)
The Scenic Route (1990)

Mr. Wau Wa Plays The Songs Of Bertolt Brecht (2000)


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Bird Of The Inner Eye, a chamber opera based on the life and letters of American painter Morris Graves.  Libretto by Joan Schirle. Development received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Vagabond, an opera based on the life of Isabelle Eberhardt, writer and traveler.  Libretto by Jan Dalley.  Developed with the Duffy Institute for New Opera and the Virginia Arts Festival

Burning Dreams (San Diego Rep) commissioned through the Meet The Composer/ Rockefeller/ AT&T Jazz Program.  Libretto by Octavio Solis & Julie Hebert.


texts&beheadings /ElizabethR, a music theater piece based on the life and writings of Elizabeth I for Compagnia de’ Colombari, directed by Karin Coonrod (BAM Next Wave Festival). Other scores for Colombari include and adaptation of Monteverdi’s Orfeo  (Orvieto, Italy) and The World is Round is Round is Round based on the book by Gertrude Stein (Arts & Letters, The Mill, Averill Park, NY)

Septimus & Clarissa, an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, written by Ellen McLaughlin, dir. Rachel Dickstein, with Ripe Time (CSC and Baruch Performing Arts Center, NYC) (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Score)

Uncivil Wars: Moving with Brecht and Eisler, an adaptation of Brecht’s Roundheads and Peakheads, written and directed by David Gordon (The Kitchen, NYC; The Walker, Minneapolis; Peak Performances, Montclair)

21 Positions: A Cartographic Dream of the Middle East, by Abdelfattah Abusrour, Lisa Schleisinger & Naomi Wallace, directed by Lisa Peterson (Fordham Lincoln Center, NYC)

New scores for
Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage (La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Rep) (both Critic Circle Awards)
Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Oedipus The King (Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis)
and for NYSF/Public Theater, Vineyard Theater and CSC in New York; ODC/SF dance company, the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Joseph Chaikin, and numerous regional theaters across the country.
Leishman was also for many years an Associate Artist at the California Shakespeare Theater, writing scores including 12th Night, Love’s Labours Lost (Critics Circle Award), Cymbeline, Winter’s Tale, Much Ado and As You Like It.



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