Skip to main content

Yuriy Leonovich

Photo of Yuriy Leonovich

Department of Instrumental Studies
Division of Music
School of Fine Arts and Communication



  • 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 Unites States. He has performed with Daniil Trifonov and Elizabeth De Mio on many occasions.

His compositions and arrangements have been played in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia/Oceania by 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 Editions, Ovation Press, and Boma Brass. He is currently working with the Servais Society on editing and publishing Urtext editions of Servais's works, as well as being one of the editors for He is also 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 have been accepted to the Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Memphis, Penn State, Columbus State, Appalachian State, among others. His students also participate at 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.