Toronto-based violist Rory McLeod enjoys an exciting and varied career as a chamber musician, orchestral player, artistic director, and teacher. He believes strongly in the connective power of music, and makes it his mission to use music to create real personal connections among people.
Together with his wife Emily Rho, Rory co-directs Pocket Concerts, a ground-breaking concert series that provides “an intimacy that’s hard to find in the concert hall” (Toronto Star), presenting top-quality chamber music experiences in homes and offices all over Toronto. Rory and Emily are now expanding their impact by helping friends in other cities start their own in-home concert series, and by advising other arts entrepreneurs through panels, speeches, and courses in the Toronto area. Their latest projects include a fitness session for musicians, as well as a series of ultra-intimate concerts in their own condo, which you can find on Airbnb Experiences.
Outside of his own series, Rory follows his passion for chamber music across the continent, including recent performances at the SweetWater Festival (Owen Sound), Chamber Music @ New Park (Ithaca, NY), Toronto Summer Music, The Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, and The Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington, D.C. You can also hear him as a soloist this season, playing Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with The Oakville Chamber Orchestra in March.
Together with Yolanda Bruno, Mark Lee, Leana Rutt, and Emily Rho, Rory formed The Iris Ensemble in June 2017 to act as ensemble-in-residence at The Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (LAMP). The "Irises" returned in 2018 for another summer of music making, working with young composers at LAMP, and performing at The Pontiac Enchanté Festival (Ottawa) and The 21C New Music Festival (Toronto). They return to LAMP once again in 2019 to premier a new string quartet by Andrew Staniland, among other new works.
Rory frequently plays as an extra with The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and Esprit Orchestra. He served as assistant principal viola of Symphony Nova Scotia from 2010-12, during which time The Chronicle Herald chose him as one of Halifax’s Top 20 20-Somethings. He has played principal viola with “Toronto’s all-star classical band” the Group of 27 Chamber Orchestra, and with The Elora Festival Orchestra.
Rory holds a B.A. in English Literature from McGill University and a Performance Diploma from the Glenn Gould School. He studied viola with Steven Dann and Jean MacRae.