Leonard M. Heifetz

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Bio submitted by Leonard M. Heifetz
Leonard M. Heifetz, from the well-known musical family, is the son of Hilda Armel Heifetz, an artist in Morro Bay.  His father, the late Emanuel Robert Heifetz, was a professor of music and a violinist/teacher in the Los Angeles area and at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  Two of Emanuel Heifetz’ students that went on to noteworthy careers were singer, Joan Baez, and dancer, Twila Tharp.  Len’s first cousin, Michèle (Heifetz-Bloch) Zukovsky, has been principal clarinetist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra for over forty years.  Len went to UCLA with an academic scholarship at age 16.  He got a rather amusing and interesting student housing assignment.  He was given Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson’s room in Sproul Hall, surrounded by many athletic scholarship-holders.  Len loves to reminisce about dormitory life in those years.  He has fond memories including some of Gail Goodrich, Walt Hazzard, & Coach John Wooden.  He was an especially close friend with tennis great, Arthur Ashe.  Len, 6'2" & 210 pounds at that time, played on the Sproul Hall second-floor intramural football team, as a lineman.  Arthur Ashe was close by, as wide receiver.  Future Los Angeles Laker, Gail Goodrich, was the quarterback.  Although fraternities had dominated the 32-team intramural competitions for years, this "star-studded" dorm team broke the trend, going undefeated (24-0), 1961-63.
 
When Len’s Mom, Dad, and sister Sharon moved to San Luis Obispo, Len joined them and finished his Bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly University, graduating at age 20.  He then left for a year of graduate work at Aix-en-Provence, near Marseille, in southern France.  He was the first representative from Cal Poly to go to this International Studies Program site.  In France, he met Bonnie Balatti, a Fresno State University International student.  They moved back to Fresno and were married.  They both received their California Life Teaching Credentials.  Bonnie taught and was a counselor in Fresno middle schools for 37 years, prior to retiring early, in 2004.
 
Len and Bonnie have one son, Marcus Daniel Heifetz, a graduate of Fresno’s Roosevelt High School in 1990.  Marcus continued his education on the East Coast, graduating from Harvard in 1994.  At Yale Medical School, he received his Degree in Epidemic Medicine & Public Health in 1997.  Marcus was awarded The Schlesinger Fellowship from Yale.  With this award, he earned the Juris Doctor at Boston College School of Law in 2000.  Marcus began work as an attorney with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto.  After a 12-year romance, Marcus married his college sweetheart.  His wife, Trina, is an obstetrician and clinical professor at the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania.  Their first child, a girl named Amelia Zoë Heifetz, arrived Nov. 17, 2005, in Wilmington, Delaware.  Another baby, Elena Stelle Heifetz was born April 26, 2008.  Marcus joined AstraZeneca International, as Senior Litigation Counsel in 2005, aged 32.

Aside from his love of the grand piano, Len enjoys many other varied hobbies.  These include thoroughbred horse racing, tournament Scrabble, car restoration, gemology and numismatics.  Musically, Len started on the violin at age three, and then moved to the piano to accompany his Dad.  As a pianist, Len started playing professionally at age eight.  He was hired to play for California’s Governor, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown.  He went on to perform as a soloist and with groups at many venues in California and in France.  Some of Len’s combos have included Joe Lizama (now, the renowned percussionist and librarian for Johnny Mathis), Sonny Jay, bassist (formerly with Cal Tjader), and many other fine musicians.  Some of Len’s favorite musical jobs were for the Del Webb Hotel, and many spots in Westwood and Beverly Hills.  More recently, he has held forth in central California, at Lake Tahoe and in Monterey.  Len has an 88-key digital keyboard for jobs where no piano is available.  Thus, his motto: "have piano, will travel.”  Since February, 1995, Len has been the house pianist for the historic Fort Washington Country Club in Fresno.  He also enjoys providing music for weddings, parties and special events, elsewhere.

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(559) 255-3210
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