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Anatole Leikin

Professor Emeritus of Music

Anatole Leikin specializes in Classical and Romantic performance practice, music history and theory, and piano performance.

Research Interests: 

His recent and present projects cover a variety of topics: structural and hermeneutic analysis, early tonality, Romantic performance practice, Chopin, Scriabin, Granados, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Shostakovich.

831 459 3296
Music Center, room 293
Office Hours: 


Selected Publications: 



The Mystery of Chopin's Préludes. Ashgate Publishing, 2015; Routledge, 2016; Paperback edition: Routledge, 2020.

Il mistero dei Preludi di Chopin, transl. Marco Bertoli. Italian paperback edition: EDT Srl, 2023.


" effulgent example of stellar research and eloquent writing... a uniquely interdisciplinary examination of Chopin's Preludes that never ceases to hold one's attention... a persuasive and carefully structured argument... engrossing... an extraordinary musical discovery... astonishing... a strikingly original achievement... highly recommended for pianists and piano teachers, for music libraries, and for academic libraries serving music programs." (Music Reference Services Quarterly, March 2016)


"The Mystery of Chopin’s Préludes provides valuable insights into our structural and aesthetic understanding of Chopin’s preludes. Leikin presents a compelling case that the Dies Irae enshrouds Chopin’s preludes, thereby infusing these 'tone-painting reflections of Lamartine’s poem' with an aesthetic of death. Leikin’s systematic illustration of the Dies Irae motive establishes this book as a definitive resource about Chopin’s preludes for performers, scholars, and listeners." (Notes, June 2016)


"Anatole Leikin’s The Mystery of Chopin’s Préludes offers a far-reaching study of one of Chopin’s most famous opuses, testifying to the expansive hermeneutic and analytic terrain the Préludes offer… He develops an original interpretation of the Préludes, one that…suggests links between Chopin’s literary environment and the composition itself… Leikin draws on literary analogies in order to shed new light on long-standing issues surrounding Op. 28… One of The Mystery of Chopin’s Préludes greatest merits is to guide its readers along many fascinating paths Leikin’s deep engagement with the work has followed." (Ad Parnassum, April 2016)


“The rich, well-elaborated context… The meticulous motivic analysis is impressive…  really a great discovery… Most stunning of all is the cultural panorama… At some moments, it is even as if this is not a twenty-first-century author writing, but an intellectual from Chopin’s milieu who survived the composer… the book is written in the form of a musicological detective story… Each new chapter strikes with the unexpectedness of its approaches and received data… The book is a piece of musicological artistry.” (Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online, Vol. 13, 2015-16)



The Performing Style of Alexander Scriabin. Ashgate Publishing, 2011; Routledge, 2016; Paperback edition: Routledge, 2016.


"Carefully written, filled with interesting sidelights, and rich in detail... Highly recommended." (Choice, December 2011)


"Leikin provides a wealth of important observations based on his analyses of Scriabin's performance practice... meticulous and groundbreaking study... the prose is of high quality, very readable and clear, and the insights into Scriabin performance that Leikin provides are numerous and special... Leikin's achievement here is undeniably significant." (Notes, June 2012)


"Ambitious and thoroughly researched book... thorough, groundbreaking work..." (Slavonic and East European Review, July 2012)




"Not Set in Stone: Mikhail Pletnev's Rewrite of Scriabin's Piano Concerto," Performance Practice Review, vol. 22 no. 1 (2017).


“L’unité cyclique des 24 Préludes op. 28 de Chopin: implications pour l’analyse et l’interprétation,” Analyse Musicale, Vol. 62 (2010): 42-52.


"Thematic Rapprochement in the Recapitulations of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven," Ad Parnassum, vol 6 no. 12 (2008): 41-67.


"Piano-Roll Recordings of Enrique Granados: A Study of a Transcription of the Composer's Performance," The Journal of Musicological Research, vol. 21 nos. 1-2 (2002): 3 - 19.


"Repeat with Caution: A Dilemma of the First Movement of Chopin's Sonata Op. 35," The Musical Quarterly, vol. 85 no. 3 (2001): 568 - 82.


"Missing Links: Some Aspects of Key and Mode Relationships," International Journal of Musicology, vol. 7 (1998): 9-28.


"Chopin's A-Minor Prelude and its Symbolic Language," International Journal of Musicology , vol. 6 (1997): 149-62.


"Decoding the Twenty-Four Preludes of Shostakovich: A Hermeneutic Approach," The American Journal of Semiotics, vol. 13 (1998): 165-81.


"The Performance of Scriabin's Piano Music: Evidence from the Piano Rolls," Performance Practice Review, vol 9 no. 1 (1996): 97-113.



"Performing Expressive Rhetorical Devices in the First Movement of Haydn's Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. XVI:49," in Haydn's Last Creative Period, ed. Federico Gon. Brepols, Turnhout (Belgium), 2021, pp. 277-98.


"Anatole Leikin's essay on Haydn's late Piano Sonata in E-flat Major...manifests throughout the combined point of view of the performer and the musicologist. His contribution is the only one [in the book] to take advantage of new perspectives on musical rhetoric and topic theory, with results that matter to performers. A useful glossary at the end of the chapter rounds off this thorough approach to a truly inexhaustible piece." (Ad Parnassum, October 2022, Volume 20 Issue 39)



"The Narrative Rhetoric of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony," in The Routledge Handbook of Music Signification, eds Esti Sheinberg and William Dougherty. Routledge, 2020, pp. 185-95.



"Performing Chopin's Second Ballade, Op. 38, as Gothic Tale," in Nineteenth-Century Programme Music: Creation, Negotiations, Reception, ed. Jonathan Kregor. Brepols, Turnhout (Belgium), 2018, pp. 65-75.



"Cyclic Aspects of Chopin's Twenty-four Preludes, Op. 28, in Analysis and Performance," in Chopin 1810-2010: Ideas, Interpretations, Influence, eds Irena Poniatowska and Zofia Chechlinska. The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw, 2017, vol 1, pp. 503-18.



"Chopin and the Gothic," in Chopin and His World, eds Jonathan D. Bellman and Halina Goldberg. Princeton University Press, 2017, pp. 85-102.


"[Leikin] extends the Gothic aesthetic from the Dies irae–infused preludes into nocturnes and ballades by astutely recognizing that 'each ballade follows the general outline of a typical Gothic story: tranquil beginning leading through abrupt plot twists and violent episodes to a calamitous denouement.'" (Notes, March 2019, Vol. 75 Issue 3)



 «Историко-структурный анализ тематических связей в репризных разделах классической сонатной формы» [Historical and Structural Analysis of Thematic Connections in the Recapitulations of Classical Sonata Form], in Измерение музыки [Dimensions of Music], ed. Irina Vorontsova. Herzen State Pedagogical University Press, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2015,  pp. 144-64.         



"Chopin's Preludes Op. 28 and Lamartine's Les Préludes," in Sonic Transformations of Literary Texts: From Program Music to Musical Ekphrasis, ed. Siglind Bruhn. Pendragon Press, 2008, pp. 13-44.



"The Alternative Versions of Chopin's Piano Sonatas: Sorting Out the Composer's Intentions," in Early Music: Context and Ideas (International Conference in Musicology). Cracow: Institute of Musicology, Jagiellonian University, 2003, pp. 178-83.



"From Paganism to Orthodoxy to Theosophy: Reflections of Other Worlds in the Piano Music of Rachmaninov and Scriabin," in Voicing the Ineffable: Musical Representations of Religious Experience, ed. Siglind Bruhn. Pendragon Press, 2002, pp. 25-44.



"Genre Connotations, Thematic Allusions, and Formal Implications in Chopin's Nocturne Op. 27 No. 1," in Chopin and his Work in the Context of Culture (Second International Musicological Congress), ed. Irena Poniatowska. Polska Akademia Chopinowska, 2003, pp. 232-242.



"The Sonatas," chapter in Cambridge Companion to Chopin, ed. Jim Samson. Cambridge University Press, 1992; paperback edition 1994, pp. 160-187.



"Основные факторы деформации сонатной формы: об эволюции музыкального языка"  [The Dissolution of Sonata Norm: On the Evolution of Musical Language], in Черты сонатного формообразования [Features of Sonata Formbuilding], ed. Yevgeny Ovchinnikov. Moscow: The Ministry of Culture of RSFSR, 1978, pp. 110-131.



"Основные факторы становления сонатной формы: об эволюции музыкального языка" [The Cystallization of Sonata Norm: On the Evolution of Musical Language], in Вопросы музыкального анализа [Issues of Music Analysis], ed. Zoya Glyadeshkina. Moscow: The Ministry of Culture of RSFSR, 1976, pp. 51-88.



The Complete Chopin - A New Critical Edition (the Sonatas Volume). London: Peters Edition (forthcoming)


Monuments of Russian Sacred Music, Vol 1, editor of the Russian text of Critical Notes, Washington, D.C. (1991): 665-768



Multimedia Chopin (CD-ROM), English-Polish version. Warsaw: User, 1996; 2nd edition: Multimedialna Encyklopedia Fryderyk Chopin, English-Polish version. Warsaw: Movex, 2000



Review of Simon Morrison, Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement. In Journal of Musicological Research, vol. 22 no. 4 (2003): 409-413.


Review of Victoria Adamenko, Neo-Mythologism in Music: From Scriabin and Schoenberg to Schnittke and Crumb. In Notes, vol. 65 no. 2 (2008): 314-316.


Review of Formal Functions in Perspective: Essays on Musical Form from Haydn to Adorno, edited by S. V. Moortele, J. Pedneault-Deslauriers and N. J. Martin. In Ad Parnassum, vol. 15 no. 30 (2017): 135-141.


Review of Lincoln Ballard and Matthew Bengston, The Scriabin Companion: History, Performance, and Lore. In Performance Practice Review, Vol. 22 No. 1 (2017): 


Review of Joan Grimalt, Mapping Musical Signification. In Ad Parnassum, vol. 20 no. 38 (2022): 65-68.


Concert and CD reviews of various performers (R. Lupu, M. T. Thomas, E. Kissin, K. Zimerman, etc.) published online in San Francisco Classical Voice.



Selected Recordings: 



David Cope with Experiments in Music Intelligence, Suite (after Rachmaninoff) for two pianos, with Maria Ezerova. Virtual Rachmaninoff, Centaur Records, 2008, CRC 2888



Piano Music of Alexander Scriabin (Based on the composer’s Original Performances Reconstructed from Piano Rolls). Centaur Records, 1998 (CRC 2364)

". . . Extremely affecting Scriabin playing . . ." (Fanfare) "Mr. Leikin is a marvelous pianist . . ." (American Record Guide)



EMI/Cope: A movement from The Russian Sonata for two pianos, with Maria Ezerova. Centaur Records, 1997 (CRC 2329)



 Multimedia Chopin (CD-ROM), English-Polish version. Warsaw: User, 1996; 2nd edition: Multimedialna Encyklopedia Fryderyk Chopin, English-Polish version. Warsaw: Movex, 2000




Honors and Awards: 




Excellence in Teaching Award: Presented by the Academic Senate Committee on Teaching, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004.

Excellence in Teaching Award: Presented by the Academic Senate Committee on Teaching, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1995.  

Teacher of the Year Award: Presented by Re-Entry Services Center, University of California, Santa Cruz. 1993.

Favorite Professor Award: Presented by the Student Alumni Council, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1992.  

Education and Training: 
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
M.A., Gnesin State Musical and
Pedagogical Institute, Moscow
B.A., Gnesin State Conservatory, Moscow