Professor at the Sommerakademie of Salzburg, at the Alfonso X el Sabio University of Madrid, and Higher School of Music “Forum Musikae” in Madrid, Exclusive Artist of Yangtze River Piano (China), Artistic Director and Founder of the María Herrero International Piano Competition (Granada), and the Spanish Composers International Piano Competition (Madrid), member of the WFIMC. As well as the Granada Music Festival Leonel Morales and Friends. Exclusive representative in Spain of the prestigious German piano brand Grotian-Steinweg since 2024.
Leonel Morales has been an exclusive artist in Spain for the MUSIESPAÑA concert agency for more than 25 years and is an academic member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Santa Isabel of Hungary in Seville, Spain.
Born in Cuba, Leonel Morales lives in Spain since 1991 as a Spanish citizen. He studied at the University of Havana under the tutelage of P. Frank Fernández, a student of Víctor Merzhanov, who in turn was a disciple of Feinberg, therefore his school, consists and continues, the deepest roots of the great and traditional Russian piano school. He took classes in Weimar with P. Jacov Latainer and worked with Mihail Voskresensky during his stay in Cuba as a specially selected student. He was also for two years, a student and assistant at the Sommerakademie in Salzburg in the class of Argentinian teacher Aquiles Delle Vigne.
Leonel Morales, arrived in Spain at the age of 25 and between the ages of 26 and 29, he won first prizes in several International Competitions. Such as the Fundación Guerrero International Piano Competition, Citat de Manresa, Teresa Carreño in Venezuela, Second Prize in the International Piano Competition Piano Jaén, Award for Best Contemporary Music Performance and “Rosa Sabater” Award for the Best Interpretation of Spanish Music, Second Prize at the International Piano Competition Santa Secilia Oporto, Award with Distinction at the Aosta International Piano Competition, Sommerakademie prize of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, William Kapell, etc.
At the age of 28, he stopped competing as his career was completely consolidated in Spain, having performed with all the major orchestras in the country, highlighting his tour of the whole Rachmaninoff concertos for piano and orchestra, including the Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.
Since 2018, he is an exclusive artist in China for the best Chinese piano brand: Yangtze River, considered to be the Chinese Steinway. He tours anually in the best venues in the country, as well as imparting masterclasses and conferences. His two-hour masterclass held during the latest Shenzhen International Piano and Orchestra Competition reached a streaming audience of more than 10,000 people, making it the most listened stream in the history of the streamed masterclasses organized by Parsons Music.
In October of 2008, he received the prestigious “Tasto D’Argento” 2008 (Alexandria, Italy) award for his consolidated international career. Showcased his exceptional gifts in the concerts he performed throughout the United States with the National Orchestra of Spain, the National Orchestra of México, and through Germany, with the Valencia Symphony Orchestra, and the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra.
…His incredible Concert of Tchaikovsky created an instantaneous ovation. “Hero of the day”.
(Palm Beach Post)
…The Spanish pianist with Cuban origin, was the hero of the night, with his enormous technique achieved the magic in every note with facility. He played the piano with elegance, discipline and intelligence.
He is often invited to be part of the jury in world class international piano competitions such as the Shenzen International Piano and Orchestra Competition, Cleveland Competition, Pozzoli, Scriabin (Grosseto), Lyon, Valsecia, Cesar Franck, Pancho Vladigerov, Ferrol, UNISA, Santa Cecilia (Porto), Shenzhen, Clara Schumann, etc.
The class of Leonel Morales is considered one of the strongest and on the highest of levels in Spain, as his students obtain more than 50 national and international awards each year, in various categories.
Competitions like UNISA, Hummel, Epinal, Paderewski, Sommerakademie Salzburg, Lyon, Santa Cecilia (Oporto), CSIPCC Shenzhen, Ferrol, are some of the competitions won by his students.
Morales gives Masterclasses all over the world in places like the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Korea, Italy, México, France, Belgium, China, Japan, Italy, USA, etc.
In the interpretation of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas, Morales is considered by critics as one of the best interpreters of this great composer.
On his two tours in the US with the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra with Columbia Artists, he had the opportunity to play in the most important venues in North America, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Tuckerman Hall etc… achieving a great success with critics and the public.
… extraordinary interpretation and power
…Undoubtedly Morales is a pianist of great virtuosism, trust, efficiency but of big naturality and without big gestures
(CLASSICAL MUSIC REVIEW)
Once again in 2010, he was named “the hero” by the critic, in the concert tour of Germany, performing in venues such as: “Beethovensaal” in Stuttgart, “BASF-Feierabendhaus” in Ludwigshafen with the Valencia Symphony Orchestra, playing Chopin piano Concerto no. 1.
…The Spanish pianist with Cuban origin, was the hero of the night, with his enormous technique achieved the magic in every note with facility. He played the piano with elegance, discipline and intelligence. After the frantic applause, Morales offered three pieces out of the program: “Malagueña” from Ernesto Lecuona. “Danza” from Ignacio Cervantes and one waltz from Chopin in which he showed again his brilliant technique.
He also holds courses and conferences on five continents, in which he analyzes and interprets Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas, among other topics.
At Carnegie Hall in New York it was said of him:
Impressively clean and nice structured Sonata Op. 101 of Beethoven… His marvelous Petrouska made tremble the audience.
(Harris Goldsmith, NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW)
More than 60 pianists from all over the world gather in his International Masterclass and Granada Piano Festival (Leonel Morales & Friends) held every year in the month of July.
Morales’ skill and virtuosity have been frequently displayed during his concerts with the National Orchestra of Spain, the Spanish Radio and TV Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic of Galicia, the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Murcia Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Portuguese National Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt-Oder Orchestra, RAI Nacional Turin Orchestra, Adana, Istanbul Symphonic Orchestra, Ankara Symphonic Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Virtuoso Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra, Denver Philharmonic, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Toruń Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Zemtrun (Dortmund), Burgos Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Miami Chamber Orchestra, Louisiana Symphony Orchestra…
Where he has shown his ability as a concert pianist under the baton many important Spanish and foreign conductors such as: Frühbeck de Burgos, Cristobal Halffter Víctor Pablo Pérez, Juanjo Mena, Pedro Halffter, Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, Manuel Galduf, Enrique García Asensio, Antoni Ros Marbá, Max Valdés, Tania León, Michael Jurowski, George Pehlivanian, Alexander Rahbari, Marc Tardue, Jacques Mercier, Adrian Leaper, Ovidiu Balan, Franz Krager, John Bae, Emin Güven Yasliçam, Jiri Malat, Enrique Bátiz, Marzio Conti, Yaron Traub, Pavel Baleff , Joel Revzen, En Schao, Antoni Witt, Mariusz Smolij, Lawrence Golan, Andres Salado…
He currently shares his class with his son Leo de María, winner of various international competitions, as an assistant, in his professorship in the University of “Alfonso X el Sabio”, Madrid, combining it with his intense concert activity, performing an average of 40 concerts per year.