At the age of 6, I was introduced to piano and started piano lessons at a music school for gifted children. I studied classical piano, music literature, and solfeggio. That gave me a good foundation for all types of music. At 14, I discovered American Jazz and was just fascinated with that music. I thank my stepfather for introducing me to popular music, as that eventually led me to become a professional musician.

I grew up in Riga, Latvia (the former USSR). When I was 5 years old, my stepfather Gregory Fomin, a popular orchestra leader and violinist, discovered that I had a perfect pitch. He was so excited that one day he brought home a small violin and gave it to me. Accidentally, I broke the bow and that was the end of my career as a violinist. Fortunately, my brother Arkady Fomin came to my rescue and started violin lessons and later became an internationally known violinist and educator.

I started supporting myself by playing music at local restaurants and clubs at the age of 16. I played at jazz festivals in Tartu and Tallin, Estonia. Two years later, I joined Rigas Estrades Orchestra, where I was the youngest member of that orchestra. For the next three years I traveled all over the Soviet Union. While on the road, I realized just how many pianos were out of tune. I found some literature and some experienced tuners to help me get started in the piano tuning and repair trade. I obtained some tuning tools and, from that point on, always carry them with me everywhere.

After serving three years in the military, I moved to Moscow and joined a renowned orchestra named Eddie Rozner. Here I met my future wife, Valentina; she was one of the singers. We traveled together for about five years and then moved to America in 1973, where we’ve made our home and raised three children in Dallas, Texas.

Eddie Rozner Orchestra

Rigas Estrades Orchestra

The Home Conservatory

About Leon