Steve Leisring

Steve-LeisringSteve Leisring came to KU in 2003 after performing for 14 seasons with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Canary Islands, Spain. As a member of the orchestra, he performed in major halls in Europe including London, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Segovia, Zaragoza, Valencia, etc.  He can be heard on more than 35 commercial CD’s on labels such as Deutche-Gramophone, Decca, and Auvidis-Valois.


  1. People laughing during auditions aren’t necessarily laughing at you.
  2. College auditions are just experiences upon which you build experience.
  3. Apply your experiences in your comfort zone to other performance situations that may not be as comfortable.


Was in an audition at North Texas University. Didn’t realize the audition would have sight reading, which was not his strong suit. He struggled mightily during the audition and a couple of grad assistants started laughing during his audition. This led to a period of self-doubt, but made one of the jazz bands the next semester.


  • “Everything I learn performing I take and apply to my students.”
  • “I’ve always felt more comfortable playing in an ensemble than as a soloist.”
  • “You never hear a jazz player have problems with a first entrance.”


Q: It’s 5 minutes before you go on stage for an important performance… What are you doing?

A: Convincing myself I don’t need to be nervous. Just be myself.

Q: What’s the best performance-related advice you’ve ever received?

A: “Give 90%.” If you give 110%, the adrenaline will get you off-balance. If you give 90%, it’s still great.

Q: Can you share one tip for our listeners to help deal with stage fright? (Physical, mental, etc.)

A: Just keep doing it. To get that confidence, you just need to be in that situation a lot. Find what makes you confident.

Q: What’s a non-musical activity that contributes to your success as a musician?

A: Athletics.

Q: Imagine you’re on stage. It’s the end of the performance and the audience is on its feet, applauding. They don’t want any more and they don’t want any less. Everything is perfect. What have you just done?

A: Performed at Tanglewood backing up Delphio Marsalis. Did his version of Fanfare for the Common Man. It was kind of a redeeming moment because a colleague I highly respected gave me a lot of praise for my performance.

About the author, James Newcomb

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