Laura Thompson is a violinist, violist, fiddler, and musical wanderer who is at home in a wide variety of traditions. She is especially excited about working with composers on new works of music, collaborating with other musicians on chamber music projects, and discovering forgotten fiddle tunes from dusty recordings.
Currently, Laura performs duo repertoire with pianist Kai-i Tien, violin-cello duo repertoire with cellist Marie Sinco Warren, and Irish music with flutist Molly Noyes. Additionally, Laura plays with the Bronte Piano Trio, and has a folk duo with cellist Kim Souther. She also plays with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Fox Valley Symphony, and the Racine Symphony Orchestra.
In 2014, Laura was a fellow at the Lucerne Festival Academy, where she performed as a soloist in a masterclass for Midori, led an orchestral project as concertmaster for Barabara Hannigan, and performed in large-scale orchestral concerts during the festival. Laura has also performed with Chicago-based contemporary music group Ensemble Dal Niente.
She received her Masters of Music in violin performance from the Royal College of Music in London, UK, where she was a student of Berent Korfker. While a student at the RCM, Laura was a member of new music collective ExplorEnsemble and of the RCM Experimental Music Ensemble. She premiered works at the National Portrait Gallery, played Terry Riley's "In C" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and performed at the Royal Festival Hall. She also performed as a soloist in a masterclass for Daniel Hope and frequently worked on recording projects while a student in London.
As a fiddler, Laura immersed herself in the London Irish music scene and took Irish fiddle lessons for four years with Devin Shepherd. In 2011, she qualified for the All-Ireland Fleadh, representing Britain as a solo fiddler. She was a finalist for a Mitchell Scholarship and an alternate for a Fulbright Grant to study fiddle and ethnomusicology in Ireland in 2012. She received the Ed Ward Music Scholarship from Milwaukee Irish Fest to attend the Blas International Summer School of Music at the University of Limerick in 2014.She has also attended Irish fiddle workshops with Jesse Smith at the Willie Clancy Summer School, with Yvonne Kane at the Feakle Festival, and with Daire Bracken and Liz Carroll at Milwaukee Irish Fest.
Laura took part in Scottish fiddle workshops at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, at Sabhal Mor Ostaig on the Isle of Skye, and studied Shetland fiddling at Shetland's Fiddle Frenzy Festival.
Laura has taken several trips to Appalachia to learn old-time music, studying with Rayna Gellert, Eddie Bond, and Bruce Molsky at the Swannanoa Gathering, and with Nikkos Pappas and Brett Ratliff at Cowan Creek Mountain Music School. Additionally, Laura has learned Norwegian hardanger fiddle music from Erling Haling, Torunn Rue, Laura Ellestad, and Dan Trueman at the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America's annual workshop.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music, where she studied with Gerardo Ribeiro. While at Northwestern, Laura performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and taught with the Chicago YOURS Project. After receiving her masters in London, Laura resumed her studies for two more years with Gerardo Ribeiro in Chicago.
During summers, Laura has performed in masterclasses at Orford Arts Centre (Quebec), Toronto Summer Music, the Internationale Arbeitswoche in Goslar, Germany, the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance at Mannes (NYC), the International Baroque Institute at Longy, the Castleman Quartet Program, Meadowmount School of Music, and Musicorda Chamber Music Institute.
Laura was especially inspired to pursue the violin seriously by her teacher Jeanyi Kim in Milwaukee. Laura is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where she studied with Hal Grossman.