Born in Munich , Germany , Leni started playing piano at the age of six and guitar at eleven. At seventeen, she formed her own acting company. Her radical productions sold out houses across Europe and attracted press and TV coverage. In 1977, she turned her attention to music and left for the United States to study film scoring at the Berklee College of Musicin Boston. Film scoring gave way to her love for guitar and in 1981, Leni moved to New York City to play in a variety of rock and jazz bands. In1983, she formed a group of her own with Paul Motion on drums and Bill Frisell on guitar. Leni’s 1985 “Clairvoyant” was her first solo instrumental recording. Eight albums and 12 years later, in 1997, she released “BlackGuitar,” her first vocal full-length release.
In between writing, recording, and touring, Leni somehow finds the time to run her own record label, Leni Stern Recordings (LSR), which she began in 1997 with the release of “Black Guitar.” While she hopes to release albums by other performers in the jazz and songwriter worlds in the future, Leni has already released two additional albums of her own on LSR thus far:1998’s “Recollection, “ a critically-acclaimed retrospective which made the top 10 of the year for Billboard in the jazz category and also included five new vocal tracks; and “Kindness of Strangers,” Leni’s 2000 release whichsaw her breaking new ground: that of orchestrator/composer, especially on the centerpiece track, “Vedo Il Tuo Viso (I See Your Face).” “I got the commission,” Leni remembers. “Then, because of the availability of musicians and circumstances surrounding the event, I found out I was going to have to compose a song for a full orchestra of 120 performers!” She rose to the occasion, to stunning results, prompting the Washington Post to declare: “…her multi-faceted talent is shining in ways it never has before.”