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 from 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 won orchestral appointments with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and currently serves as Principal Cello of the Orchestra Iowa.
Recent performances include concerts of the complete J.S. Bach solo suites in Los Angeles and Connecticut, concertos of Dvoràk and Takemitsu with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, and a chamber concert with Richard Stoltzman (clarinet) at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Usiskin has a penchant for new music and has performed with the Bang On A Can All-Stars, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Axiom Ensemble, and as a member of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance. She has premiered dozens of new works as well as commissioned works in her name.
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 over 150 underserved 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
Dr. 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. She currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is on faculty at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham-Southern College, STEP Birmingham, and is a founding member of the New York-based piano trio Arté Trio (www.artetrio.com).