The Kennedy Center

Isabelle De Leon



Biography

“March to the tempo of your own beat” is a motto lived by Isabelle De Leon. Learning piano at the age of 4 and drums at the age of 7, she has spent all her life doing music. She began by playing drums in church as early as the age of 7, and at a young age did countless bands and ensembles, including the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra and the Archdiocese of Washington Honors Band, where she was featured many times on drumset. She most recently graduated from the University of Maryland, where she studied both Jazz drums performance and pre-medicine, and earned honors as a College Park Scholar, Dean’s List student, and member of the Sigma Alpha Iota National Music Fraternity. While at the University of Maryland, she studied under drummer and vibraphonist Chuck Redd, with whom she had the privilege of performing around the DC area.

In 2008 she won the Washington Post Music and Dance Scholarship Award for her performance on drums. In April 2011, she was a featured performer with the Leigh Pilzer and Jen Kruppa quintet at the Smithsonian National American History Museum for a celebrati on of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and the launching of Jazz Appreciation Month. In the summer of 2011 she was awarded the Stanley Kay Scholarship by the DIVA Jazz Orchestra to attend the New York Summer Festival, where she had the privilege of working with renowned faculty such as Justin DiCioccio, Dick Oates, and David Tull. In both 2012 and 2013, she was the selected drummer for the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Jazz Orchestra, an honors college band comprised of students from schools along the east coast. With them she performed at the Kennedy Center and St. Peter's Church in NYC, and worked exclusively with composers/arrangers Mike Tomaro and Eric Richardson. In April 2013, she was the winner of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival's annual Young-Artist Competition, and will be a featured performer at WWJF 2014. Most recently, she was featured as an Artist-in-Residence at the Strathmore Performing Arts Center for the 2012-2013 season and debuted a commissioned piece.

Despite all this, she manages to practice and perform regularly with her family band, Ivy Rose, where she is a contributing songwriter and arranger, backup vocalist, the drummer and recording pianist. Continually gaining prominence in the DC music scene, they have played at venues such as the Kennedy Center, DAR Constitution Hall, 9:30 Club, and in cities like Toronto, ON and New York City. In April 2010 they had the honor to open for Weezer and Ben Folds at the University of Maryland’s Byrd Stadium after winning a battle of the bands competition at UMD. They also placed 2nd at the Next Big Thing Tour Battle of the Bands at the 9:30 Club and 1st at Quest Battle of the Bands. From December 2011-January 2012, they toured in the Philippines and were guests on multiple radio and TV shows. Last year they were featured on the 2012 season of NBC's America's Got Talent and made it as far as the semi-final round in Las Vegas.Isabelle continues to perform all over the DC area and hopes to be working on her debut album in the near future!

Watch Past Performances

Video 9/9/2013: Isabelle De Leon

As a drummer and songwriter, this Strathmore Artist-in-Residence fuses the intensity of rock music with the harmonic complexities and feel-good groove of jazz.

Isabelle De Leon