Ohh, that way around. Yes, you can defoliate most deciduous trees now with the right techniques for each species. Hornbeam, beech, Stewartia etc. But all with the rigth techniques, and they are different.
Hornbeam can be cut back to two or three leaves, or partly defoliated leaving the end leaf at each branch.
On beech, you leave the end leaf at the tip of the branch, and the end leaf at weaker side branches, and remove all other interior leaves. Weak branches are left with more leaves back.
Stewartia must be done more carefully and a little later, in July. You can remove large leaves at the tips of the branches only. So do not leaf prune as much as you do on Japanese maples, trident maples or other trees.