Pianist, teacher, and composer, 1939 has concertized, taught piano, and written music for many different media. Heir to a great musical tradition, he is the nephew of George Gershwin and grandson of the legendary pianist/ composer Leopold Godowsky. He has written string quartets, brass quintets, wind quintets, a saxophone quartet, an oratorio, keyboard music, songs and music for interactive media. His CD of the Gershwin Concerto in F was hailed in The Chicago Tribune as " ... one of the most romantic and heartfelt performances of the Concerto in F in the last three decades."
Leopold wrote the saxophone quartet score for a film based on a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer that was broadcast on PBS' American Playhouse. The Cafeteria was a mini-biography based on Singer's experiences and impressions (social, romantic, and supernatural) after he emigrated from eastern Europe to New York City. Godowsky's task was to capture an Eastern European music flavor and blend it with a feeling of New York all the while serving the moods and action in the film.