"From the famous Prelude from the Suite No. 1 in G major and ecstatic ascent of its melodies, Monika Leskovar showed remarkable concentration and absolute mastery of the music material, and then, working on this strong base, showed a wonderful sense for designing fantastic structures of broad arches with many discrete and fine decorations. Bach performed by Monika Leskovar is a wonderful place where it is beautiful to reside. As long and as often as possible. " (Branimir Pofuk, Večernji list)
Croatian cellist Monika Leskovar (born Kreutztal, Germany, 1981) studied with Dobrila Berković-Magdalenić at Elly Bašić Music School in Zagreb and later with Valter Dešpalj. In 1996, she became a student of David Geringas at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where – from 2006 to 2011 – she was an assistant. In master classes she worked together with Mstislav Rostropovitch and Bernard Greenhouse. She was the winner of several prizes at international cello competitions – International Tcahikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (Sendai, 1995), Antonio Janigro (Zagreb, 1996), Rostropovich (Paris, 1997), Eurovision Grand Prix (Vienna, 1998), Roberto Caruana Stradivari (Milano, 1999), International ARD (Munchen 2001), 5th Adam (New Zealand, 2003). Sofia Gubaidulina once said of her: „Monika perfectly performed my Preludes for solo violoncello… She is truly remarkable, and simply I adore her… Monika is the sort of talent that only appears by the Grace of God“. She performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Sendai Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphonic Orchestra, Zagreb Philharmonic, Essen Philharmonic, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Zagreb Soloists; with conductors such as Valerij Gergiev, Thomas Hengelbrock, Krzysztof Penderecki; and in solo recitals, chamber music projects and at noted festivals such as Lockenhaus, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, Dubrovnik, Casals Festival (Tokyo), Rostropovich Festival (Riga), Zagreb International Music Festival (in collaboration with Gidon Kremer), Yuri Bashmet, Boris Berezovsky, Julian Rachlin, Itamar Golan, Tabea Zimmermann, Sofia Gubaidulina, Mario Brunello, Nikolai Zneider, Jeanine Jansen and Kolja Blacher, among others. Since 2005, she has been collaborating with cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima, with whom she recorded the album We Were Trees, recently published by Sony/BMG. In 2008, she recorded the G major Cello Concerto of Stamitz and the Danzi Variations on a theme from Don Giovanni for the label Oehms Classics. In 2010/2011, she was the principal cellist of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, and since 2012 she has been teaching at the Conservatory of Italian Switzerland in Lugano. Monika Leskovar plays a cello by Mantegazza, Milano 1765 loaned to her by Kronberg Academy.