Founded by classical violinist Julia Connor and jazz pianist David Leach in 2018, Room to Spare released their debut album in May 2019. In July of 2019, WBUR Boston recognized Room to Spare as one of the top 21 entries from Massachusetts to NPR's 2019 Tiny Desk Contest. In October 2019, the group—in collaboration with drummer Vlade Guigni—premiered Jonah, a 40-minute cantata which David composed on commission from Temple Beth Avodah in Newton, MA. Room to Spare also received an artist residency during September 2018 at PLAYA in Summer Lake, OR. Julia and David are both graduates of the double degree program at the Oberlin College and Conservatory. Julia also holds a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and David holds an MFA in poetry from Boston University, where he was a student of former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. For more on David and Julia, see below.
Julia Connor fell in love with the violin at an early age and after years of perfecting her air violin skills, her parents finally took the hint and signed her up for lessons. She has since developed an eclectic musical palette, performing everything from baroque music on period instruments to fiddle music from Ireland to new works by living composers. In addition to Room to Spare, Julia is also a founding member of the Berwick Fiddle Consort, an early music ensemble which performs historical folk music from the British Isles on period instruments as it would have sounded in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Julia performs regularly in Boston with Emmanuel Music, Boston Baroque, Music at Marsh Chapel, and Grand Harmonie. She has also performed at Carnegie Hall, (le) Poisson Rouge, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe. In January of 2019 she joined the faculty of the Intercambio de Musica (Classical Music exchange) at the world-renowned Panama Jazz Festival. An avid Irish fiddler, Julia has also performed in County Clare, Ireland as part of the annual Feakle Festival, including a special performance on Clare FM Radio and workshops with prominent Clare fiddlers Martin Hayes and Sorcha Costello.
Julia holds a Master’s degree with honors from the New England Conservatory and is a graduate of the Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she earned degrees with high honors in violin performance and Hispanic studies.
Pianist and composer David Leach has been called “loud” by neighbors and “usually on time” by bandmates. He has performed with various jazz and blues groups in New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and Washington D.C. as a pianist, composer, and arranger.
As a composer, David draws inspiration from a wide variety of musical styles and genres, from renaissance madrigals to American folk, from prog-metal to McCoy Tyner.
David has performed in masterclasses for such acclaimed artists as Kurt Rosenwinkle and the Punch Brothers, among others. He studied at Oberlin College and Conservatory with Dan Wall, Jamey Haddad, and Peter Dominguez. In 2014, Downbeat Magazine recognized David as a member of The Little Big Band, awarded an Outstanding Performance among Undergraduate Small Jazz Combos across the U.S.