In demand as a performer, educator, and presenter of cello and chamber music, Laura Gaynon performs both modern and baroque cello in concert halls across the United States, Europe, Canada, and China. Based in San Francisco, Laura has performed with the American Bach Soloists, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Opera Parallele, Magik*Magik Orchestra, One Found Sound, and as a founding member of the baroque chamber ensemble MUSA.
A passionate chamber musician, she is cellist of the Pacific Crest String Quartet, which forms the faculty of the Pacific Crest Music Festival, as well as of the viola-cello-piano trio Ensemble Illume with violist Jessica Chang and pianist Allegra Chapman. She has collaborated with Kim Kashkashian, Tanya Gabrielian, Krista Bennion-Feeney, Geoff Nuttall, Bonnie Hampton, Tanya Tomkins, Paul Hersh, and Ian Swensen. Recent festival appearances include the American Bach Soloists Academy, Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Berwick Academy, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Taos School of Music, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, and the International Piatigorsky Cello Masterclasses at USC.
Laura was co-founder and Co-artistic Director of Bard Music West, a San Francisco music festival that explored the life and works of one composer from the last 100 years each season through music, dance, theater, film, and lectures. The festival has been described as "brilliant" and picked as one of the best classical performances in San Francisco by the San Francisco Chronicle, and received widespread critical acclaim.
In addition to performing and programming, Laura is passionate about music education. Laura runs an active private cello studio in San Francisco and teaches cello at San Francisco State University. She is the Artistic Director of Pacific Crest Music Festival and a core teaching artist of Chamber Music by the Bay Previously, Laura taught cello and chamber music at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, directed the String Quartet Program at Thomas Hart Middle School in Pleasanton, CA and taught at California Music Preparatory Academy in Saragtoga, CA as a chamber music coach.
Laura earned degrees from Yale University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she graduated with an M.M. in cello performance, an Artist Certificate in chamber music, and an emphasis in Historical Performance Practice as a student of Jennifer Culp and Elisabeth Reed. She is currently finishing (all-but-dissertation) her Doctor of Musical Arts, at the University of Illinois, where she studied with Daniel McDonough and Denise Djokic. Her dissertation research is on the topic of self-concept clarity development and vulnerability in adolescent music education.
Outside of music, Laura's most prized accomplishment is completing a cross-continent bicycle trip, from New Haven, CT to Portland, OR, because, in her words, "I don't know how I'm still alive." She would love to bike the perpendicular path from Canada to Mexico if someone would be willing to carry her luggage.