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Darien Violinist Joins Ensemble For Disney Concert In Stamford

Anna Leunis of Darien will play the violin in a concert featuring Disney music on Saturday at The Palace in Stamford.
Anna Leunis of Darien will play the violin in a concert featuring Disney music on Saturday at The Palace in Stamford. Photo Credit: Contributed

DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien’s Anna Leunis received the first Stamford Center for the Arts award in 2010 at The Palace Theatre in Stamford. Saturday, the young violinist returns to The Palace as part of the ensemble performing Disney Music.

Leunis, who just completed her second year at the Eastman School of Music, will play at The Palace in Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies. The concert begins at 3 p.m. and features tunes from a wide range of Disney classics, including Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, Lion King and Frozen.

The orchestra will be conducted by Dirk Hillyer, who has conducted local pops orchestras for the past 20 years and has played in concerts, pit orchestras and shows.

  • What : Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies
  • When : Saturday, May 21, 3 p.m.
  • Where : The Palace, Stamford
  • Tickets : $30-$70, at PalaceStamford.org

The show will be a homecoming of sorts for Leunis, a 2014 graduate of Darien High. Asya Meshberg, who runs the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians in Darien and was a former teacher of Anna, was asked by the Regal Pops Orchestra if she knew performers who could handle the Disney show. Leunis was one of the musicians she selected.

“I’m really looking forward to it,’’ Leunis said. “I’ve played some concerts at The Palace, but nothing like this. This is a great opportunity.”

Leunis started violin at age 4, traveling with her mother, Patricia, and sister, Olivia, to lessons in Westport. “My mom used to practice with me everyday,’’ Anna said. “She made us well-rounded. Olivia (a standout swimmer) went into sports. My talent was more on the musical side.”

The Disney concert will challenge Leunis. She will not see the sheet music until the day of the concert and her only previous experience with Disney music was at a children’s party.

“This is the first time I’m performing it in concert,’’ Anna said. “It’s challenging because it spans older movies all the way to Frozen. It’s a wide range with different styles, tempos and rhythms. It should be a great experience.”

Saturday’s concert begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are available beginning at $30. Click here to visit the concert page on The Palace website.

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