When Leslie Tomkins co-founded the Moab Music
Festival with her husband, Michael Barrett in 1992, she
was reaching in yet another new direction. As a child she
played piano, violin and then finally settled on the viola.
Leslie studied at the San Francisco Conservatory and Mannes College
of Music, and then, like many musicians, she did her time playing on
street corners - including in nearby Aspen, Colorado. Leslie tends
to play in ensembles rather than go solo, but if you have ever heard
her perform alone, you can hear the soulfulness - and the playfulness
- in her musical touch.
Leslie has appeared with many
of America’s fine
orchestras including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn
Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, American Symphony,
Westchester Philharmonic, and Stamford Symphony. An avid
chamber musician, she is a member of the Musical Arts ensemble
and a guest artist with Music from Copland House chamber
ensemble. Music is her life, but she is also a full-time
mom to the irrepressible Emma Barrett, age “eight
and three quarters.”
intriguing life both in the east and the west is exciting
and busy. She spends about 2 and a half months in Moab
every year enjoying the different atmosphere and working
on the music festival. In addition to her musical (and
administrative) skills, Leslie spends time honing her
athletic skills as well. She recently competed in her
first biathalon. She biked and ran 22 miles and finished
second in her age group..out of two!
Those who break through her natural shyness discover her wonderful,
wicked sense of humor, and everyone in Moab appreciates her dedication
to the Moab Music Festival, for which she is Artistic Director, set
designer, newsletter writer, fund raiser, website mistress, spiritual
guru, and mother-hen.