Leon W. Couch III

June 2, 2020

Throughout his teaching career of 30+ years, Leon W. Couch III, Ph.D., D.M.A., has been recognized for his teaching and pedagogies. While Dr. Couch was on the faculty, Texas A&M University named him as the 2005–2006 Montague Teaching Excellence Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (230+ faculty). In 2007, while working at Converse College, Dr. Couch was chosen as the 2007 Nelson visiting scholar at Northwestern College. In 2011, Dr. Couch was invited to as a lecturer and guest artist for the Heidelberg Keyboard Festival. He designed music-theory curricula and coordinated music-theory programs at several colleges (sample) and has supervised numerous undergraduate research projects. Numerous grants for his scholarship, performances, teaching, and public service have resulted in pedagogy software. He has 27 years of classroom teaching experience at the university level and 25 years of teaching private lessons, group lessons, and piano classes at numerous colleges. He now has a vibrant private student of pianists, organists, composers, and other professionals desiring higher levels of musicianship.

Dr. Couch is a nationally recognized keyboardist, playing at major cathedrals (e.g., St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle), to prestigious universities (e.g., Harvard University), to major festivals (e.g., Spoleto Festival), to major concert halls (e.g., Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore), to conferences, and in religious settings (e.g., annual ministry conference at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne). He has lectured in the same venues and for professional organizations, such as national conferences and chapter meetings of the American of Organists. He also gives masterclasses in keyboard performance through the United States. In August 2007, the respected label Pro Organo released his solo recording Hamburger Rhetoric; selections have been featured on NPR's Pipedreams (public radio) and on Alabama Public Radio (APR) several times. Raised Methodist (Christian), he has been a church musician since 1990, serving ELAC Lutheran, MS Lutheran, Episcopal, Disciples of Christ, and Methodist churches.

Dr. Couch's scholarship is related to keyboard performance and historical performance practices of the Baroque period. He has developed analytical techniques drawing from both both contemporary music theories (e.g., Schenker and Schoenberg) and historical music theories (e.g., writings of Bach's students and contemporaries). One approach culminated is a 3-CD educational resource entitled Playing Buxtehude's Works Rhetorically and promoted by the American Guild of Organists. It is used at several major research-universities. Through his academic career, Dr. Couch has presented at numerous international, national, and regional conferences. He, however, particularly enjoys presenting lectures to the local musicians and civic organizations. Recent projects include rhythmic analyses (Schenker) of Baroque organ works and several of Satie's piano pieces, applications of Baroque techniques in the music of Petr Eben (20th-c), and continued musical-rhetorical interpretations of seventeenth-century German music.

Dr. Couch earned a D.M.A. in Organ Performance with a cognate in Music History from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, under the supervision of the regarded keyboard pedagog Dr. Roberta Gary. Simultaneously, he earned a Ph.D. in Music Theory with a cognate in Electronic Music, leading to his use Schenkerian analysis (Samarotto), Schoenbergian tonal concepts (Neft), and history of music theory (Nowacki). His undergraduate degrees in physics, mathematics, and music are from the University of Florida, where he studied organ under Willis Bodine. He is also active in several national and local organizations, including College Music Society, Society of Music Theory, and Texas Music Teachers Association.

He is represented by the Concert Artist Cooperative.