Leela Koilpillai came to the United States at the age of six, eventually returning to study medicine in Pune, India. While in college she was offered an opportunity to lead a girls’ choir and loved it so much it switched to a music major. She holds degrees in piano and vocal performance and has studied choral conducting under Robert Shaw, Helmut Rilling and Don Neuen. She has sung with the Washington Opera, and performed extensively in the Washington, D.C. area. Her soprano voice was favorably reviewed by the Washington Post as “… beautifully crystalline.”
Leela has taught and conducted every age group and level of experience, from Kindergarten to Elderhostel. Her high school choirs (Fairfax County, VA) have sung at the White House, Kennedy Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. She is skillful as at developing, motivating, and inspiring musical groups. She formed and directed a chamber vocal ensemble in Portland, Maine, “Northern Lights,” which focused on contemporary choral repertoire with an emphasis on Scandinavian and Russian music.
Leela’s organ teachers include Ray Cornils and David Maxwell. In the summer of 2016 she had the honor to be one of the organists in the Kotzschmar (which boasts 102 ranks, 6,862 pipes in eight divisions) Organ Day festival. She has taken organ coaching with Ray Cornils and David Maxwell (State Street Church, Portland, ME).
In Maine, Leela taught at Waynflete School, coached musicals at Greeley HS, in Cumberland, led the “Rocka’ My Soul” gospel ensemble in S. Berwick while maintaining a private piano and vocal studio. She has led tours in the Eastern U.S and Europe. She loves to cook, draw, paint and write in her spare time.