Active as soloist and recitalist, Laurie Smukler has established a reputation as one of the finest chamber musicians in the country. Growing up in Cleveland, she began her studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with pedagogue Margaret Randall. She started performing early, winning local competitions and playing as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of 14. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Ivan Galamian. Other teachers who had a powerful influence on her development were Donald Weilerstein, Robert Mann, Rudolf Serkin, and Menahem Pressler.
As the founding first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Ms. Smukler spent eight years traveling and performing internationally with them. She has performed and toured with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. With her husband, violist Ira Weller, she directed and performed in the Collection in Concert series at the Pierpont Morgan Library. She has performed and toured as the first violinist of two school-affiliated string quartets, the Bard Festival String Quartet and the Purchase Faculty String Quartet. She collaborates frequently with esteemed colleagues in varied chamber ensembles, including recent trio performances with cellist Joel Krosnick and pianist Seymour Lipkin. She plays regularly at the chamber series, Da Camera of Houston.
Ms. Smukler is a member of the faculties of the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and the Conservatory of Music at Bard College. She spent 17 years as a professor of violin and chamber music at Purchase College Conservatory of Music, ten as Head of the String Department. Ms. Smukler also teaches and performs at the summer Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival and School in Blue Hill, Maine. She has presented master classes at conservatories and music schools across the country, such as the Shepherd School of Rice University, Peabody Conservatory, University of Michigan, University of Tennessee at Memphis, and Oberlin College.
Ms. Smukler has been an invited guest at many summer festivals, including Kneisel Hall, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Marlboro Festival, Chambermusic Northwest, the Bard Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Skaneateles Festival, Music Mountain, and the Mount Desert Island Festival. She has a particular interest in contemporary music and has premiered works by Ned Rorem, Morton Subotnik, Steven Paulus, Shulamit Ran, and Bruce Adolphe, among other composers. She plays a Guarneri violin made in Cremona in 1738.
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