As a frequent performer, educator, and presenter of cello and chamber music, Laura Gaynon has performed both modern and baroque cello in concert halls across the United States, Europe, Canada, and China. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Laura has performed with the American Bach Soloists, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Opera Parallele, Magik*Magik Orchestra, the unconducted orchestra One Found Sound, and as a founding member of the baroque chamber ensemble MUSA. A passionate chamber muscian, 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 also collaborated with Kim Kashkashian, Tanya Gabrielian, Krista Bennion-Feeney, Geoff Nuttall, Bonnie Hampton, 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 2012 International Piatigorsky Cello Masterclasses at USC.
Laura is co-founder and Co-artistic Director of Bard Music West, a San Francisco music festival that explores the life and works of one composer from the last 100 years each season through music, dance, theater, film, and lectures. The third festival, The World of Grazyna Bacewicz, took place on October 18 and 19, 2019 at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco. It was 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.
As an educator, Laura has a private cello studio in San Francisco and directs the String Quartet Program at Thomas Hart Middle School in Pleasanton, CA. She is a core faculty member of Chamber Music by the Bay, and the Pacific Crest Music Festival, and she has taught at California Music Preparatory Academy as a 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. Other important mentors include George Neikrug, Ole Akahoshi, Carolina Singer, Mikhail Gelfandbein, Irene Sharp, and members of the Brentano, Cleveland, St. Lawrence, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, and Borromeo String Quartets.
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.