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Fall style

Most stylish: Leslie Kwan

By Ami Albernaz
September 18, 2011

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LESLIE KWAN

AGE: 41

OCCUPATION: HARPSICHORDIST AND GENERAL DIRECTOR OF L’ACADEMIE, A BAROQUE ORCHESTRA

RESIDENCE: BOSTON

> What is the idea behind l’Academie? Boston has the oldest tradition in the country of performing Baroque music; there’s quite a legacy here. I moved here from New York about nine years ago with the hopes of becoming part of this very rich history. In my travels around the country and just working in town, I realized the work was a bit harder to find, especially in French and Italian repertoire. We started out as an orchestra and choir and quickly realized our best work was French repertoire  —  17th- and 18th-century.

> Where does your sense of style come from? My whole idea of style comes from my grandmother then my mother. They’re from Guyana, in South America, which was a British colony. I grew up wearing pencil skirts, blouses, and little flats. I never wore jeans until I was 19. It was kind of funny going to school in New York City and wearing these very adult clothes, but that was the way I was brought up.

> You go back and forth to France to do research. What’s most striking about French style? It’s the tiny, tiny details. What I also found  —  and it’s hard to accept this when you live in a place where people tend to blend in a little more  —  is that it’s OK to stand out a bit.

Ami Albernaz can be reached at ami.albernaz@gmail.com.