Leo Augustus Sanker
Leo Sanker, choral conductor, pianist, and composer, presently resides in Kirkland, Washington, where he conducts the Leo Sanker Chorale, a chamber choir that specializes in choral masterworks, and maintains a private studio, teaching piano, voice, composition, and conducting. A freelance musician, he has accompanied and directed in musical ministries for several years.
Sanker was born in Los Angeles, California, one of nine children born to Judy Hall and Hazart Sanker. He began playing piano by ear at age four, expressing himself in many styles of music. He particularly enjoyed singing with his family during worships in the home.
He attended and graduated from Pacific Union College Preparatory School in 1982, and then studied at Pacific Union and La Sierra colleges, Sonoma State University, and the University of Redlands. Even though Sanker had started piano lessons while still in grade school, it wasn't until he studied with Anita Olson at LSC that he began to realize his potential and really develop his musical talents. He regards his study with Olson and Marilyn Thompson, a teacher at SSU, as particularly inspiring experiences.
Sanker decided to pursue music as a career in 1986 and completed a B.Mus. in composition at UR in 1990, studying with noted composer Barney Childs. He then attended Andrews University, where he studied choral conducting under Zvonimir Hacko and Stephen Zork, graduating with an M.Mus. in 1995.
While teaching at Lodi SDA elementary school in Lodi, Califronia, from 1998 to 2001, he started work on a doctorate in choral conducting, studying with William Denning at the University of Southern California. Sanker then transferred to the University of Washington, where he pursued a doctoral degree in choral conducting under Abraham Kaplan, completing it in 2009. During this time he also served as associate music director at the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church.
Sanker is married to Sheree Newborn, a talented musician he met at Pacific Union College who sings and writes songs. They have two children, Morgan and Justin.
Source: information provided by Leo Augustus Sanker, 2011.