Leslie Uyeda, composer. Photo credit: Belle Ancell Photography

“Leslie Uyeda is a composer with that rare combination of clear-eyed intelligence and deeply-felt emotion. Although her music can be demanding it is always rewarding because its intention is purely musical, never just for effect. I love to play Leslie’s music because it engages my head, heart and hands equally. Even her instrumental music sings!”


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I love writing for singers. I revel in the human voice and where it can take us. I love poetry, its distillation, its consolation. Working with singers and poets has been a joy for me throughout my composing career. I have now composed over sixty songs to the poetry of two of Canada’s greatest poets, Lorna Crozier and Joy Kogawa. Some of these songs are for voice and piano, others for voice and ensemble.  I’ve also written a chamber opera, a dramatic scene for two voices with piano, and several works for choirs.

I have composed several instrumental pieces – from solo flute to string quartet with ehru, shō, santur, and percussion, inspired by my years of conducting opera and playing chamber music. I was trained in the Western music tradition, but much of my music is deeply rooted in my Japanese-Canadian heritage.

I hope you will enjoy browsing through my work and perhaps choosing to perform something that speaks to you.



WHEN I STOP SAYING YOUR NAME, a new work premiering Mar 16, 2023

Presented by the SUM Gallery, join mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó and Leslie Uyeda (composer and piano) in her new work entitled “WHEN I STOP SAYING YOUR NAME: Five Songs of Grief and Grieving” at Mountain View Cemetery on March 16, for two performances at 7 and 8:30 pm. Free admission. Click here for more details.

WHEN THE SUN COMES OUT makes its US premiere at Portland Opera Jan 28, 2022

A PIONEERING OPERA about oppression and the LGBTQSIA+ community is set to see its American premiere.

Vancouver composer, pianist, and conductor Leslie Uyeda’s groundbreaking When the Sun Comes Out, with a libretto by Vancouver poet Rachel Rose, opens at the Portland Opera on January 28.


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Click the button below to listen to Episode 1 of Getting the Song Out, an new podcast series with Emily Martin, Elizabeth McDonald and Kathryn Tremills of Women on the Verge (WOV), in which Leslie Uyeda talks in detail about singers and writing for the voice.

Listen now