Laura Weiner is a passionate horn player and advocate for classical music based in New York City. An experienced chamber musician, orchestral performer, and teaching artist, she is an alumnus of Ensemble Connect, a fellowship program of Carnegie Hall and the Juilliard School. A native of Colorado, she received her Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from Northwestern University and her Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a University Fellowship.
Laura has performed with diverse musical groups from the New York Philharmonic to Alarm Will Sound, and is a member of chamber ensembles Decoda and Genghis Barbie, where she channels her high-altitude roots as “Alpine Barbie.” She regularly performs a wide variety of concerts across New York City in venues like Lincoln Center, Trinity Church, and elementary school auditoriums. She was a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Robert Spano, and has performed at the Bravo! Vail Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts, Marlboro Music Festival, and Norfolk Chamber Festival, among others. Her principal teachers include Gail Williams, Douglas Hill, and William Barnewitz.
In addition to performing, Laura is enthusiastically devoted to education and community work. She is a teaching artist for the New York Philharmonic in two public schools, and teaches piano to incarcerated students at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Laura especially loves facilitating first-time songwriters through workshops in a variety of settings; her recent Decoda songwriting project pairing teenagers with NYPD officers received national news attention. When she isn’t rehearsing or performing, Laura heads to the mountains to rock climb, hike, and snowboard. Laura recently summited Kilimanjaro and trekked in Nepal, and is always looking for her next outdoor adventure!
Playing the horn gives us a lifelong relationship with our bodies, our habits, and our imagination. Our instrument is a tool to express our inner thoughts and, more importantly, give our audience an opportunity to explore theirs. When we study the horn, we must always strive to separate our technique from our ego. In my pedagogy, I believe in the power of playful curiosity to confront our habits, both helpful and detrimental, as we learn to pay attention in all circumstances. I believe in becoming aware of the body because physical tension always kills tone. Becoming aware is as individual as the student, so I use as many kinds of feedback as we can find: Alexander technique, recording, breathing devices, non-musical physical training, and anything else the student finds useful. And as the horn has less repertoire than many other instruments, it’s essential that horn players be voracious learners. We should become familiar with as much music as possible, from piano sonatas and choral pieces to world music and jazz, and learn to compose, arrange, and improvise in a variety of styles.
Finally, playing an instrument is a privilege that comes from time, resources, and opportunities that so many others do not have. I encourage all of my students to “pay it forward” as often as they possibly can by sharing their musicianship with as many diverse people in as many diverse settings as they can imagine.