- DMA, Violoncello Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music
- MMus, Violoncello Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music
- BMus, Music, Wayne State University
Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, cellist Yuriy Leonovich immigrated to the United States with his family. His teachers include cellists Stephen Geber and Robert DeMaine, and composer James Hartway. Leonovich earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is a recipient of the Hope and Stanley Adelstein Prize for Excellence in Composition and Performance. Following his vision to expand the standard cello repertoire, Leonovich wrote his DMA research document on Gaspar Cassadó's cello concertos.
Leonovich is an active proponent of Eastern European music, new music, as well as rarely played music of the baroque and classical periods. He has collaborated with Kimbo Ishii-Eto in the Cleveland premiere of Khachaturian's Concerto-Rhapsody and with Gary Ciepluch in the Cleveland premiere of De Meij's Casanova. As an active recitalist, Leonovich frequently collaborates with his wife Kristin in the Upstate South Carolina community and throughout the Southeastern United States. He has performed with Daniil Trifonov and Elizabeth De Mio on many occasions. In April 2022, Leonovich played the US premiere of the orchestra version of the Suite, Op. 16 by Camille Saint-Saens with the Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra.
His compositions and arrangements have been played in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia/Oceania by Robert Rearden, Massimo La Rosa, Brian Thornton, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, the Spirale Piano Trio, the New Zealand viola ensemble Viola Viva: The Next Generation, and others. His music, including the Rusalka Fantasie, has been recorded on the Five/Four Productions label. The Rusalka Fantasie has been performed internationally by various Cleveland Orchestra members, and is featured on Brian Thornton’s Kol Nidrei and Beyond: Lev's Story - a tribute to Lev Aronson. In 2006, Leonovich completed Tchaikovsky's unfinished Cello Concerto with the help of Brett Langston, who generously provided sketches and ideas for the piece. Leonovich has published his music with YL Edition, Ovation Press, and Boma Brass. He is currently working with the Servais Society on editing and publishing Urtext editions by the Belgian composer. He has also worked as the Cello Music Edition Specialist for the Cello Museum.
Leonovich holds the Assistant Cello Professor position at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. His students are performing and teaching all over the world, from the Indianapolis Symphony to Guam. His students have been accepted to the Cleveland Institute of Music, Michigan State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Memphis, Penn State, Columbus State, and Appalachian State, among others, and have participated in music festivals such as the National Repertory Orchestra, PRISMA Festival, MasterWorks Festival, the Tennessee Cello Workshop, and the South Carolina Cello Choir.
Leonovich plays on a cello made by Michael Koeberling in 2016 and a bow by Roger Zabinski, which Leonovich commissioned.