Leonard Brown first became involved in music at the age of four when he started piano lessons with teacher Norman Brown from Penshaw, County Durham. He showed a natural flair for music and continued his studies throughout his school years. He sat numerous exams through the associated board of the royal school of music (ABRSM) and achieved his Grade 8 at the tender age of 15.
Moving on to South Tyneside College he continued his private tuition through teachers Kathryn Jones from South Shields and Christopher Senior from Jesmond, Newcastle until the age of 18 when he achieved his A levels and was accepted to study the Bachelor of Arts Degree Course in Classical Music at Newcastle University in 2009. He graduated with a 2:1 in July 2012.
Accordion :- Leonard first picked up an accordion at the age of eleven. He was an Irish dancer for four years from the age of seven with the McElvogue school of Irish Dancing and after winning 120 medals and 17 trophies, he decided to retire and take up the accordion. This was the main instrument used for Irish Dance Music.
His dancing teacher’s sister, Sheena McCaffrey gave Leonard his first lessons on piano accordion with the main focus being bellow movement and how the left hand operated. Leonard then went on to teach himself and took a keen interest in Scottish music through his hero, the great Tom Alexander from the famous Alexander Brothers of Scotland.
Other accordionists that have influenced Leonard over the years are:
Gordon Pattullo Dermot O’Brien Seamus O’Sullivan Robert Black Wayne Robertson Liam Stewart Michael Philip
As you can see from this list, his influences are very much based around consummate solo performers with the exception of Michael Philip, who coached Leonard in 2012 ahead of his success at Perth.
Leonard competed in October 2012 at the Perth Accordion and Fiddle Festival an annual event held since 1950. He won and became only the second Englishman to be the all Scotland Accordion Champion. This is the creme de la creme of accordion competitions in Scotland and is a title that Leonard is very proud of. He was awarded the Jimmy Shand Shield by the adjudicator John Carmichael.
Leonard has consequently played extensively across the United Kingdom as a soloist and with his band. As well as playing with his own band, Leonard has played with Newcastle fiddler and folk singer - Tom McConville, who was crowned the BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year in 2009.
Leonard was also a member of the Happy Cats band from 2011 until they disbanded in 2017.
Since 2011, Leonard has recorded eight professional albums and two DVDs.
The current members of Leonard’s All Star Band are
Leonard Brown - Accordion Liam Stewart - Piano Duncan Findlay - Banjo, Guitar John Sinton - Double Bass Malcolm Ross - Drums