Unlike many musicians, Leo Geyer
started his music career because his name was pulled out of a hat — during his childhood, too many people wanted to take flute lessons, and he was one of the lucky students whose name was called out. Although he soon realized that it wasn't his cup of tea and migrated to learn the bassoon instead, that introduction to flute also allowed him to explore composing, which soon became his main passion.
For his undergraduate studies, Leo decided to do the Joint Course at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music. "It was very unusual because you do two simultaneous degrees: the idea is that you get the best of both worlds," he says, describing how he experienced a rich academic environment while being exposed to practice-based conservatoire education at the same time. It was at Manchester where the young composer was finally offered the opportunity to hone the craft of conducting — Leo did conduct some of his work before, but being self-taught there was much to learn!
When graduating from MU, he still had a year to pass at the Royal Northern College of Music. Leo wished to further enhance his conducting skills, choosing to travel to the universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna as part of his Erasmus exchange to do so. "It was, and still remains, one of the best places in the world [for conducting] and has about 50 conductors studying at once, which [makes it] the biggest department," the young musician explains.