Leonard Read Kohler was born in Shelby, Montana and raised in Great Falls, Montana.
He comes from a diverse family of musicians and artists. Before earning a degree in music from Montana State University in Bozeman, Lee traveled and performed with a band from Great Falls, The Phoenix Express, which included the Gemberling brothers. His second band In Flight, a trio including his brother Rob Kohler on bass and multi-guitarist Robi Johns, gained national attention in 1987 with their performance at the Montreux Music Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. The group produced a recording under the auspices of Claude Nobs, founder of the festival. Since then, Lee has performed on nineteen independent CDs with various artists.
As an accomplished composer, his compositions range across a broad spectrum, from choral works to symphonic rock, string quartets to symphonies, as well as pieces for the piano and organ. Several of these works have been commissioned including one of his first compositions written for the Cascade Quartet. Recently, he submitted a new composition String Quartet in C Minor No. 3 to the Great Falls Symphony competition in Montana. The piece was praised for its high quality and creative energy and as a finalist, will be performed by the Cascade Quartet in the near future. His newest project is “Celestial Skies” a fifty-minute work that takes the listener on a journey through the solar system. Recorded this year with the band
This World, it will be their third CD. The band includes Mark Raynes on drums (a native of Great Falls) Rob Kohler on bass and lead guitar, sister Kate Kohler on background vocals and Lee on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and multi-synthesizers. (Available at www.kohlermusic.com)
Lee has worked with a number of jazz musicians such as Carl Fontana, Danny Gottlieb and Richie Cole as well as artists from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Temptations and Bo Diddley, among others.
His wife Maria is a major in the United States Air Force and stationed at Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, California. They are the parents of three children, Patricia, Matthew and Anna and are new grandparents as of last year.