Leah Kolner
  • Instrument First Violin

Leah Kolner was born and raised in Ames, Iowa. She earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Luther College in Decorah.  She started Suzuki violin lessons at the age of four and also took many other music lessons throughout her early education including piano, oboe and voice.  In high school, she was a three-year member of the Iowa All-State program in both the orchestral and vocal divisions.  After graduating from Ames High School, she attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where she studied violin with Dr. Virginia Strauss.  In January 2003, she studied in Vienna with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Daniel Baldwin.

Member of the Orchestra since


Most memorable experience with the Orchestra

My most memorable experience with the Des Moines Symphony was getting to play with Yo-Yo Ma. I respect him as a classical artist who is able to branch out and explore different genres of music. It was inspiring to meet and play with him.

How I got started playing my instrument

I started playing the violin when my mom started me in violin lessons when I was four-years-old. It wasn’t a choice to play back then and I didn’t always want to stick with it, but now I am forever grateful because without her encouragement I would have never pursued this amazing career.

Favorite composer


Favorite solo piece

Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise

Other than classical music _____ is on my iPod

Radiohead, Dave Matthews and Zero 7