Classically trained, Leon is an extremely versatile baritone who soars to tenor-like heights with ease and power, is committed to every word of text, and takes the listeners to a place which completely surpasses mere entertainment.
Leon has wowed audiences around the globe with his impassioned interpretations of everything from the cantatas of J.S. Bach to his performance of the leading role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the original Broadway production of the hit musical Ragtime. Leon lives in Hawaii and continues to tour the world as a baritone soloist, recitalist and guest artist with Symphony orchestras and opera companies.
Brooklyn born American baritone Leon Williams has earned a fine reputation on several continents for his warm, rich baritone voice, his charismatic personality and his impassioned interpretation of works ranging from cantatas of Bach to hits of Broadway. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and the White House. An alumnus of the Harlem Boys Choir and a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, He toured for almost two years across the country in the national touring company of "Ragtime."
Passionately devoted to the art of the song, Mr.Williams has performed Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge with Sarah Rothenberg and the Da Camera Society of Houston (to which he returned for a special program of the music of Charles Wuorinen); an "Art of the Spiritual" program at San Francisco's Herbst Theater; an all-American program at Japan's Tochigi Music Festival and Maine's Arcady Music Festival; and given recitals in Hartford, Pittsburgh, Princeton and throughout his native New York City, including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall (the songs of Richard Hundley) and the 92nd Street Y (a much-acclaimed all-Poulenc program with Michel Sénéchal and Dalton Baldwin).
He recently added two new roles to his operatic repertoire: Anthony in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (Toledo Opera) and Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (Hawaii Opera Theatre), both meeting with unanimous critical and public acclaim. A much-in-demand Porgy and Bess principal, he sang Porgy in with Yuri Temirkanov conducting the performance in St. Petersburg, Russia; Sportin' Life with Markand Thakar and the Duluth-Superior Symphony and Jake in the Dallas Opera production. Mr. Williams has won top prizes in the Naumburg, Joy-in-Singing, and Lola Wilson Hayes Competitions.
The New York Times reviewed Leon Williams' performance in the "Three Villon Balades" — "Leon Williams was outstanding — light but decisive, witty, expressive and adept with the words." The Honolulu Star-Bulletin offered "Leon Williams with his vibrant baritone and strong acting made a delightful Papgeno, stealing the focus in virtually every scene” on William’s performance in 'The Magic Flute.'"