Heralded for her "thoughtful, attentive" playing (Alabama Entertainment), cellist Laura Usiskin enjoys a versatile career as a soloist and chamber musician. Her playing has taken her to concert halls throughout the United States and Europe, including the Kennedy Center, Palazzo Chigi Saracini (Siena, Italy), Symphony Hall (Boston), and New York venues including Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, Merkin Hall, Miller Theatre, Barge Music, Steinway Hall, Klavierhaus, and more.
She has received such awards as the Prix d’Instrument at the Écoles d'art Americaines (France), the Aldo Parisot Prize at Yale University, and was a finalist for the Pro Musicis International Award. She completed the nationally acclaimed Artist In Residency with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra as well as a fellowship with the Yale Baroque Ensemble. Usiskin has held tenured orchestral appointments with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Iowa, where she served as Principal Cello.
Usiskin has performed chamber music with such renowned artists as Richard Stolzman, Ani Kavafian, and Emanuel Ax. Recent solo performances include concerts of the complete J.S. Bach solo suites in Los Angeles and Connecticut as well as concertos of Dvoràk and Shostakovich with the Montgomery Symphony and Orchestra Iowa respectively. Usiskin is a member of multiple chamber groups including the Phoenix Quartet, Arté Trio, and the new music ensemble BAMA Players.
In 2011, Usiskin founded the Montgomery Music Project, an El Sistema strings program for school students in Montgomery, Alabama. Under her direction, the program gave intensive string instruction to hundreds of low-income children across three counties. She served as the Executive Director of the program from its inception through 2013. For more information, visit www.montgomerysymphony.org/mmp
Usiskin currently serves on the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, through which she founded the concert series Chamber Music @ AEIVA. She also teaches at Birmingham-Southern College and STEP Birmingham. Usiskin's cello studies began at age five with Gilda Barston of the Music Institute of Chicago and continued with Richard Hirschl of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She graduated from Columbia University cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior, The Juilliard School with a Master of Music, and Yale University with a Doctor of Musical Arts.