After years of giving impromptu performances in unusual places—from campgrounds in American national parks to hostel courtyards in rural Spain to a mountain pass in the Swiss Alps—Julia Connor and David Leach officially formed the violin & piano duo Room to Spare in the spring of 2018. The duo’s name reflects the pair's spacious approach to music making, as they draw inspiration from a wide variety of musical traditions—from jazz and classical, to folk, rock, and prog-metal.
Highlights of Room to Spare's 2018-2019 season included an artist residency at PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon; concerts in Boston, Vermont, and New York City; and the release of their debut album (May 2019). Room to Spare was also recognized by WBUR Boston as one of the top 21 entries from Massachussetts to NPR's 2019 Tiny Desk Contest. Julia and David are 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.
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, Billy Hart, Peter Dominguez, and Gary Bartz. In 2013, Downbeat Magazine recognized David as a member of The Little Big Band, named one of the best undergraduate jazz ensembles in the U.S.