Laura Jackson Image
Jeff Dow Photography

Laura Jackson, Music Director

LAURA JACKSON – now in her 14th season  –  serves as the music director and conductor of the Reno Phil and continues to win praise for her artistry, leadership, and creative community engagement. Innovative composer-in-residence projects and vibrant performances of traditional repertoire have cemented the Phil’s place in the hearts of northern Nevadans while also raising the institution to new heights in national visibility.

In addition to concerts with the Reno Phil, Ms. Jackson guest conducts nationally and internationally. She has performed with the symphonies of Alabama, Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Charlottesville, Detroit, Hartford, Hawaii, Orlando, the Philippines, Phoenix, Richmond, San Antonio, Toledo, Toronto, Windsor, and Winnipeg in addition to concerts with the Philly POPS and L’Orchestre symphonique de Bretagne in France.

Jackson recorded Michael Daugherty’s Time Cycle on Naxos with the Bournemouth Symphony in partnership with Marin Alsop, and served as the first American to guest conduct the Algerian National Orchestra in 2013.

Jackson served as the first female assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2007. Prior to her appointment in Atlanta, she studied conducting at the University of Michigan and spent summers as the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellow at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2002 and 2003.

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, later attending the North Carolina School for the Arts to finish high school. She 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.

Commissioning Projects

Laura Jackson is passionate about creating new music, and is proud of the partnerships she has helped build between the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra and some of todays most fantastic up-and-coming composers. Below are the commissioning projects she has led with the Reno Phil:

Jimmy López Bellido: Symphony No. 3: Altered Landscape (2020) engages themes of climate change and imagines a hopeful future of sustainable balance in relationship with the planet.

Monica Houghton: Respectfully yours (2020) evokes the natural beauty of the Great Basin and reminds us of its fragility and need for careful stewardship.

Zhou Tian: Transcend (2019) commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

Carlos Simon: Orchestral version of Amen! (2019) recreates Carlos’ childhood experience growing up in an African American Pentecostal church. Reno Phil commission in partnership with the Gateways Music Festival-Michael Morgan, conductor and the American Composers Orchestra.

Jonathan Leshnoff: Guitar Concerto (2014) Commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the Reno Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Orquestra Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias

Michael GandolfiChesapeake: Summer of 1814 (2013) commemorating the 200th anniversary of the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key.

Sean Shepherd: Silvery Rills (2011) and Desert Garden (2011) Sean’s memories of growing up in Nevada as part of a fourth-generation Nevadan family.