Leigh O’Hara is known for his engaging an ambitious performances of major works with orchestras and choirs of non-professional musicians of all ages. After many years working as a pianist his career is now focussed on conducting and his role as Director of Music at St Paul's Girls' School in London. Having completed a music degree at the University of York, where he won the department prize for outstanding musical contribution, Leigh continued his piano studies at Trinity College of Music with Simon Young, Philip Fowke and David Owen Norris before completing a masters degree at Royal Holloway, University of London. As well as winning first prize in the Weingarten Schumann Competition he was awarded the Gertrude Norman Prize and Cross Memorial Scholarship. Leigh has studied conducting with some of the most respected teachers and musicians including Peter Stark, Lionel Friend, Michael Rose, George Hurst and Rodolfo Saglimbeni.
Leigh has been resident at Dartington International Summer School in various capacities for over 20 years where he has performed as soloist and chamber musician as well as coaching chamber music, teaching piano and conducting the orchestral workshop and chamber choir. As well as conducting the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras at St Paul's Leigh is musical director of the Blackheath Halls Orchestra, Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra South London Youth Orchestra and co-director of the Colet Choral Society. Leigh is passionate about community music-making and has conducted three fully-staged operas for Blackheath Community Opera (Carmen, La Boheme and Orpheus and Eurydice) as well as joint projects with several choirs in south London and Blackheath Halls Chorus (including Verdi's Requiem and Mendelssohn's Elijah).
Leigh is a keen cyclist and has an irrational enthusiasm for public transport and railways but he has never been a trainspotter.