Interim Director, School of Music
Director of Choral Activities
Professor of Music and Music Education
Leslie J. Blackwell is the Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music and
Music Education at Kennesaw State University where she has directed choral activities
since 1998. Dr. Blackwell’s duties include conducting the KSU Men’s Ensemble, KSU
Chorale, and KSU Chamber Singers as well as teaching advanced choral conducting and
literature. A native of Georgia, Blackwell received the Associate of Arts degree from
Gordon Junior College (1982), the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from West Georgia
College (1984), the Master of Music from Georgia State University (1991), and the
Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kentucky (2002).
Choirs under Dr. Blackwell’s direction have performed at National, Regional, and State conferences of the American Choral Directors Association as well as numerous Georgia Music Educators Association State Conventions. In 2010 Dr. Blackwell presented Songs of South America for the American Choral Directors Association with the KSU Chamber Singers, featuring music of South America based upon her choral research and work in Argentina. In October 2013 the KSU Chamber Singers were selected to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Organization 5th National Conference. Most recently, the KSU Chamber Singers performed at the 2018 Georgia Music Educators Association State Convention and have been selected to sing at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference in March 2020.
Recognized for her work with men’s voices, Dr. Blackwell is sought after as a guest conductor for All-State Men's Choirs. Conducting engagements include the 2013 Georgia All State Men’s Chorus, 2016 Alabama All State Men’s Chorus, 2017 Tennessee All State Chorus, and in 2018 both the Kentucky and South Carolina Men’s All State Choirs. Dr. Blackwell served six seasons as the Artistic Director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, and at KSU established the annual KSU Male Chorus Day, bringing upwards of 200 high school male students to campus. Under Dr. Blackwell’s direction the KSU Men’s Ensemble, a non-auditioned ensemble, has achieved prestigious accomplishments on a State, Regional, and National stage appearing at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference in 2014, 2016, and at the National Conference American Choral Directors Association in Dallas, Texas, 2013.
Influential musicians with whom Dr. Blackwell has worked are Robert Shaw, Ann Howard-Jones, Yoel Levi, Norma Raybon, John Haberlen, David Maslanka, Ola Gjeilo, Ethan Sperry, Brian Schmidt, and Jefferson Johnson. In addition to her commitments at Kennesaw State University, Dr. Blackwell is active as a clinician and adjudicator and holds memberships in MENC, GMEA, and ACDA. She has served as the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Men’s Choirs, Georgia ACDA. Currently, Dr. Blackwell is the Artistic Director and Founding Director of the Kennesaw State University Community & Alumni Choir.