Laura Jackson is now in her fifth season as music director of the Reno Philharmonic where she continues to win praise for her inspiring leadership, innovative programming, and passionate community engagement. With the help of first-rate musicians, staff, board members and community supporters, Laura continues to captivate audiences and gain local and national recognition for Reno’s premier orchestra. She has elevated the Reno Philharmonic’s composer-in-residence program to new heights with the world premiere in March 2013 of Chesapeake: Summer of 1814, an unforgettable commission to celebrate the 200th anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner.
Since completing a three-year appointment in 2007 as the Assistant Conductor/American Conducting Fellow with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano, Ms. Jackson has performed frequently with orchestras across the United States and beyond. Guest conducting engagements have included performances with the symphonies of Alabama, Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Cape Cod, Detroit, the Philippines, Phoenix, San Antonio, Toledo, Toronto, and Winnipeg, among others. She recorded Michael Daugherty’s Time Cycle with the Bournemouth Symphony in partnership with Marin Alsop (Naxos) and led the Sacramento Symphony in the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s Masquerade, a double concerto written for Jaime Laredo (violin) and his wife Sharon Robinson (cello). In addition, Ms. Jackson conducted the Colorado Symphony in a joint performance with Ms. Alsop as the 2005 winner of the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship.
During her three-year tenure in Atlanta, Ms. Jackson conducted Young People’s Concerts, the Symphony 360º Series (interactive concerts that included discussion and demonstration as well as performance), Summer Pops, and Classical Subscription Series concerts.
Prior to her appointment in Atlanta, Ms. Jackson studied conducting at the University of Michigan and participated in the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2002 and 2003. As the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood, she conducted numerous concerts featuring both traditional and contemporary repertoire.
Ms. Jackson spent her early childhood in Virginia and Pennsylvania before moving at age 11 to Plattsburgh, NY where she grew up waterskiing, swimming, and sailing on Lake Champlain. She fell in love with the violin in public school and studied there until transferring to the North Carolina School for the Arts to finish high school. Ms. Jackson pursued an undergraduate degree at Indiana University where she studied both violin and conducting before moving to Boston in 1990 to freelance as a violinist and teach at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She won her first conducting position in 1992 with the Nashua Chamber Orchestra and served as music director there until 1998. In 2005, she earned her doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan where she studied with Kenneth Kiesler. During her time there, she served as Music Director of the Life Sciences Orchestra, made up of doctors, researchers, students, and staff of the university’s life sciences community.