Leslie Dunner was the first American winner of the Arturo Toscanni International Conducting Competition. The recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumnus award from the University of Cincinnati he has also been honored by the NAACP with the James Weldon Johnson Award.
In 2018, Dunner became the Conductor for the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra.
His first professional appointment was an academic one when he became a professor of music at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He became the principal guest conductor at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and, the resident conductor at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO). While he was with DSO first as assistant, then associate, and finally as resident conductor, Dunner performed in concerts ranging from Pops to the major classical repertoire. He also led the DSO in developing their educational programs, concerts for young people. He went on to be assistant to veteran conductor Kurt Masur with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, joining them on their European tour.
In the 1990s Dunner was involved with the Detroit Symphony Civic and Dearborn Symphony Orchestras and toured Europe, South America, and the United States with the Dance Theatre of Harlem andn 1992 performed with them for Nelson Mandela. Dunner also took the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) to world-famous festivals, including the Salzburg Festival in Austria and the Tivoli Festival in Denmark, and led the company's command performance before Diana, Princess of Wales in London.
In 1998, Dunner took up the post of music director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Dunner became Music Director and Conductor of the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago.
Dunner has performed as guest conductor with major orchestras around the world. These include the New York Philharmonic, the Dan Francisco and Seattle Symphony orchestras, the Symphony Orchestra of Madrid (Spain), and the Warsaw Sinfonia (Poland). Dunner makes regular trips to South Africa, where he has performed with that country's major orchestras. He has also performed with chamber orchestras, and with prestigious international dance companies, including the American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden (London, England), and the Birmingham Royal Ballet (Birmingham, England).
BA, University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music
MA, Queens College in New York City
DMA, University of Cincinnati, College of Conservatory Music