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Leslie Dawn Knowles


Eclectic is probably the best word to describe the rich artistic life of Leslie Knowles. Violinist, violist, mandolinist, singer, and actress, you will find her performing a wide variety of material in all types of venues.

Leslie has been a permanent fixture of the TSO violin section since 1975. On occasion, she has also played in the Orchestra's viola section, and has played mandolin for the Orchestra as well.

Born to musical parents in Los Angeles, she began playing the violin at the age of four, becoming active in the Los Angeles professional music scene while still in her teens. After moving to Baltimore, Maryland to study with Berl Senofsky at the Peabody Conservatory, Leslie auditioned for and joined the Baltimore Symphony as its youngest member to that date. She continued her violin studies with renowned teacher Dorothy DeLay until joining the first violin section of the TSO. Leslie is also concertmaster of the Brantford, Ontario, Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mozart Players.

Leslie is also an enthusiastic bluegrass musician, and is currently a member of BentTree Bluegrass Band. She has also been a member of other bluegrass bands including the feisty four-piece Roses in the Snow, where she played violin, viola, and mandolin along with three other talented women. She has also been part of the well-known group Population 5, and has played Nashville—representing Canada at the International Bluegrass Music Awards Convention.

On top of performing with the TSO and bluegrass, Leslie is still singing, and acting when time permits. She is also on the faculty of Andrea Hansen’s program, Strings Across the Sky, which involves travelling to northern Canada to inspire and teach violinists of all ages and backgrounds.

Married to Toronto Symphony Principal Tuba, Mark Tetreault, Leslie is proud mother to five children and three cats. A big animal lover, Leslie volunteers for the Toronto Wildlife Centre, and when the weather is warm, you can catch her camping, fishing, and golfing.