• Creative.
  • From Portland.
  • An orchestra member.
  • Determined.
  • A jazz fan.
  • Dedicated to service.

Hannah shares a laugh with her ensemble partner during a rehearsal break.


A year of study in China allowed Hannah to play with musicians from around the world.


Hannah performs in two chamber orchestras and a string quartet at Willamette.

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Devoted to Music

Hannah Leland shows the next generation that Bartók is relevant.

Why I Value Willamette

“Music is about more than music,” Hannah Leland says. “Learning other disciplines helps me better understand my own. I came to Willamette so I could take languages, writing courses and calculus.

“My professors encourage me and advocate for me when I take on tough challenges because they want me to do my best. Someday I hope to inspire my own students in the same way.”

The Future

Hannah first picked up the violin at age 8 and has barely put it down since.

The entire music department teases her about her constant practicing — she plays six to eight hours every day outside of class.

Hannah’s ultimate goal is to share her passion for classical music with other young people. She dreams of forming a professional string quartet and performing in schools to give children an up-close look at classical music, while also teaching them how to play the instrument she has come to love.

Academic Life

Several Willamette experiences have already helped Hannah along her path.

In addition to her music major, she performs in two chamber orchestras and a string quartet, giving her valuable experience on the stage.

During her junior year, she studied in China at the internationally renowned Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

She had the double challenge of performing with high-level musicians from around the world, while simultaneously learning Chinese.

“I played in a string quartet with graduate students who were at the top of their class. I focused intensely on improving my playing while learning how to work in a group with a language barrier. Music became our form of communication.”

Beyond the Classroom

The year in China was not Hannah’s first experience abroad.

She spent several summers during high school and college teaching violin to children at an orphanage in India.

“Community service is important to me — I have always focused on serving other people before myself,” she says. “That’s part of why I love teaching so much. It’s another form of giving to others.”

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