Leah Kolner
  • Instrument First Violin

Violinist Leah Kolner was born and raised in Ames, Iowa. Where she started Suzuki violin at the age of four. In high school, she was a 3-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, where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Virginia Strauss and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Violin Performance. In January of 2003, she studied abroad in Vienna with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Daniel Baldwin. She is currently a 16-year member of the first violin section with the Des Moines Symphony. Leah resides in Ankeny with her husband Sam, her daughter Aubrie, and her sons Owen and Eli.

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 playback 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