LEENA GILBERT WAITE, A native of Sparta, NJ, Leena Gilbert Waite received her BFA in Violin Performance and a Jazz Minor from Carnegie Mellon University, and Masters Degrees in Violin Performance and Improvisation from the University of Michigan. Her teachers have included Andres Cardenes, Concertmaster of Pittsburgh Symphony, who continues to be a great mentor, the late Oscar Ravina, Stephen Shipps, Aaron Berofsky, Ellen Rowe, Geri Allen, and Ed Sarath. Observing her then friend, Adam Waite and Lyrica bassist, Matt Aronoff, play jazz at CMU, she was inspired to pursue the art herself. At Michigan, she participated and toured with the Creative Arts Orchestra, a 15-piece improvisational group, which expanded her horizons in her classical, jazz, and pop world. Both of these experiences led to attendance at The Banff Centre's International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, its Jazz Orchestra, and the Henry Mancini Institute, in addition to classical festivals such as the National Repertory Orchestra and Brevard Music Center.
Returning to the east coast, she was thrilled to join a new band in New York city called "alice." This 7 piece elastic-hybrid-chamber pop group just finished their second album a.443 (available at www.alicetheband.com). In addition, she can be heard on Jenny Scheinman’s Crossing the Field, Alan Ferber’s Jazz Nonet and Strings Chamber Songs, her brother singer/songwriter Adam Gilbert's K-16 and Fishing for Water, Broadway Cares Carols for a Cure Volume 8, and Steve Hudson’s Outer Bridge Ensemble, Seamless. She also played with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for the 2006-07 season and spent 2007-08 as a Teaching Artist in Camden for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Education and Community Partnership Program, before settling with her now husband, Adam Waite in Morristown, NJ. She teaches out of her home and freelances in the NY/NJ area. In addition, she was accepted to the graduate program at Drew Theological School this past fall and will begin her supervised ministry next fall with the Morristown Community Soup Kitchen and America's Grow-a-Row in Pittstown, NJ, bringing healthy fresh produce to those in need. She hopes to continue a balance that suits her passions and enables her to provide healing, hope, and joy through both music and food!