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Leo R. Van Asten’s first experience with a piano was pretending that the family’s upright was a garbage truck. This was when he was about four years old. When his desire to be a garbage man subsided, he had no further interest in the piano until Mother’s day, 1996. During a trip to the House on the Rock, he heard a player piano play the Second Hungarian Rhapsody of Liszt and wondered how two hands could play all those notes and decided he wanted to learn. During his senior year of high school, Leo taught himself to read treble clef and chord symbols. Not long after, he was playing organ for various church services.
The following year, Leo enrolled at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point where he finally began his formal music training. In addition to piano, Leo also studied composition. Studying under Dr. Charles Young, Leo composed a diverse portfolio, which appealed to the sizeable audiences at the student composer’s concerts. After graduating in 2002, Leo studied musical aesthetics and performance practice with Keith Hill and ear training with Marianne Ploger in Michigan. After five years of study with Keith Hill, Leo was accepted to study harpsichord with Keith’s brother Dr. Robert Hill at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany. Leo successfully completed his “Künstlerische Ausbildung” degree (equivalent to a performance masters) in July of 2010. As part of this degree, Leo studied baroque performance practice, harpsichord maintenance and tuning. Other areas of study while in Germany included counterpoint, organ tablature,
Leo began teaching in 1998 through the Conservatory for Creative Expression at UWSP. In the 12 years since, he has taught many ages and abilities and has seen countless students blossom and even go on to study music in college. In addition to a love for teaching, Leo has a love for learning. He constantly seeks out new areas to study, or to deepen existing knowledge and enjoys learning from his students.
As a soloist, composer and teacher, Leo has been making music in Wisconsin, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia and Germany.
In addition to teaching music, Leo taught German at St. Lawrence Seminary high school where he also served in the role of Dean of Students. As dean, Leo oversaw the disciplinary aspects of this all-boys boarding school, worked on long-term planning committees and was chairman of the discipline board.