Leelanee Sterrett, aka Cosmic Barbie, is Third Horn with the New York Philharmonic, having joined the Orchestra in June 2013. As a soloist, she has appeared with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and with the NY Philharmonic horn section at the 2014 International Horn Symposium.
Raised in northwest Michigan and named for Leelanau County, her birthplace, Leelanee began her musical education at Interlochen Arts Academy as a student of Julie Schleif. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying with Douglas Hill. For her master's degree she attended the Yale School of Music, studying with William Purvis. Leelanee has also has spent past summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific and Sarasota Music festivals, and the National Orchestral Institute. From an early point in her training, Leelanee had aspirations of a career in a professional orchestra, and while still a student, she was a member of the New Haven Symphony and the Fox Valley and La Crosse symphony orchestras in Wisconsin. After much hard work and many auditions, she is thrilled to now be working her dream job in New York. On top of that, Leelanee’s musical life is made all the more fabulous and fulfilling as a member of Genghis Barbie, with the close friendship and near-magical musical chemistry enjoyed by the Barbies.
From 2010 to 2012, Leelanee was a fellow of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW—The Academy. During her fellowship, Leelanee performed not only on the stages of Carnegie and other major NYC venues, but also in numerous public school classrooms, community centers, and health institutes throughout the five boroughs, bringing interactive concert experiences and mentorship to non-traditional concert audiences. Leelanee’s experiences allowed her to see first-hand the transformative effect of high level music performance, offered in a personalized and familiar setting. In her work with both Genghis Barbie and the NY Philharmonic now, Leelanee strives for this same effectiveness of communication with all audiences.
Outside of performing, practicing, and traveling, Leelanee enjoys running, and aspires to one day complete the NYC Marathon. In her spare time, she also loves going to the ballet, learning German and being a total nerd for the BBC shows "Sherlock" and "Doctor Who". She maintains an active account of her musical life in New York and beyond on her blog at leelanee.com.