Artistic Director, Laurie Smukler, began her studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Margaret Randall. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Ivan Galamian.
Other teachers who have had a powerful influence on her development have been Josef Gingold, Donald Weilerstein and Robert Mann. As the founding first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, she spent eight years with that group, traveling and performing internationally. She also performed and toured as the first violinist of two school-affiliated string quartets: the Bard Festival String Quartet and the Purchase Faculty String Quartet. She has performed and toured with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society and Music From Marlboro. With her husband, violist Ira Weller, she directed and performed in the respected series “The Collection in Concert,” at the Pierpont Morgan Library for over ten years. She plays regularly at the chamber series, Da Camera of Houston.
Laurie Smukler is a dedicated and passionate teacher. In addition to The Juilliard School, she is a respected member of the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and the Conservatory of Music at Bard College. She also spent 18 years as a Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Purchase College Conservatory of Music; ten as Head of the String Department. She has been on the Kneisel Hall faculty since 1996.
Laurie Smukler has a particular interest in contemporary music and has premiered works by Wernick, Rorem, Subotnik, Paulus, Shulamit Ran and Adolphe. She will be on campus the whole season.