Laura Kaminsky


LAURA KAMINSKY is a composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” whose works are “colorful and harmonically sharp-edged” (The New York Times). Social and political themes are common in her work, as is an abiding respect for and connection to the natural world. Her “music is full of fire as well as ice, written in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection. It is strong stuff.” (American Record Guide) Her opera, As One (co-librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed), received unanimously positive reviews, including: “(As One) is a piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion, and the human desire for self-love and peace” (Opera News) and “…musically, (this seasoned, socially-aware composer’s) dramatically charged music has a tonal ambiguity that allows each scene to go where it needs to, and in a clear dramatic trajectory.”(Operavore)

Kaminsky has received commissions, fellowships, and awards as both a composer and presenter from the National Endowment for the Arts, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, BAM/Kennedy Center De Vos Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, Aaron Copland Fund, Chamber Music America, American Music Center, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, Kenan Institute for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, North Carolina Council on the Arts, PONCHO, Jordan Foundation, Jack Straw Productions, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Allen Foundation, King County Arts Commission, Serage Foundation, and Meet the Composer, among others. She has received six ASCAP-Chamber Music America Awards for Adventurous Programming as well as a citation from the Office of the President of the Borough of Manhattan. She is the recipient of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage 2010 Chopin Award and was awarded a Likhachev Russkiy Mir Foundation Cultural Fellowship to research Soviet Era Music in St. Petersburg in 2009. She has been a fellow at artists’ communities including the Hermitage Artist Retreat Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum Foundation, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

Kaminsky’s works are frequently performed across the U.S. and abroad. Her opera, As One, received its world premiere at BAM in September 2014. Her music has been presented in New York at Bargemusic, Subculture, Merkin Concert Hall, Miller Theater, Tenri Cultural Center, Weill Recital Hall, Symphony Space, Skirball Center, Greenwich House, Here Arts Center, Robert Miller Gallery, and the 92nd Street Y, among other venues. Internationally, she has been featured at Wigmore Hall and King’s Place (London); Glinka Hall, Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of Music, and Dostoevsky Museum (Russia); Fundacion Juan March (Madrid); Naregatsi Art Institute and Philharmonic Hall (Yerevan, Armenia); Bratislava Conservatory of Music (Slovakia); Vernissage Salzburg (Austria); and the American Embassy in Ghana among others. She has been a featured composer at Boston, Oberlin, Purchase and Shanghai Conservatories; North Carolina School of the Arts; Mannes College of Music; Cornish College of the Arts; CalArts; Tisch School of the Arts/NYU; Bard, Hunter, St. Olaf’s and Sarah Lawrence Colleges; Universities of Puerto Rico, Minnesota, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Puget Sound; the National Academies of Music of Armenia, Ghana and Slovakia; at the Wolfson Center for National Affairs at the New School; Vernon Center for International Affairs at New York University; and at festivals including the Seattle Chamber Music Festival; Soundfest Summer Institute and Festival (Cape Cod); Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival (VT); Seal Bay Chamber Music Festival (ME); Synthesis International Festival (Skopje, Macedonia); International Festival of Women Composers (Sao Paulo, Brazil); and Casalmaggiore International Music Festival (Italy); among others.

Currently composer-in-residence at American Opera Projects, Kaminsky is a member of the faculty in the School of the Arts/Conservatory of Music at Purchase College/SUNY, where she served as dean from 2004-2008. She was also Artistic Director of Symphony Space in New York City until 2014. Previously she was chair of the music department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Artistic Director of the European Mozart Academy in Poland, and visiting faculty at the National Academy of Music in Ghana. In New York she held the positions of Director of Music and Theatre Programs at The New School, Artistic Director of Town Hall, and Associate Director of Humanities at the 92nd Street Y.

She currently serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Hermitage Artist Retreat (Florida), and is on the National Advisory Board of Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle, WA). She has served six-year terms as a board member of both Chamber Music America and the American Music Center, and served on the Artistic Advisory Council of the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has been as a panelist and/or adjudicator for the NEA, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Chamber Music America, Opera America, New England Foundation for the Arts, CEC ArtsLink, Meet The Composer, American Music Center, Cary Trust, Creative Capital, USArtists International, and other organizations.

A native New Yorker, Kaminsky graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, and then received her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Oberlin College, and her master’s degree from the City College of New York/CUNY, where she was a Tuch Foundation Fellow and studied with Mario Davidovsky.

She was recently profiled at: and was the subject of an article in the New York Times:  art-meets-environmental-activism-in-the-crossroads-project. Her music is heard on the Albany, CRI, Capstone, Mode, and MSR labels. Kaminsky is a BMI composer.