Laura Wakeman grew up in Calgary, Alberta, where she took violin lessons starting at three years of age. At the age of six, she moved on to studying piano, which she studied for ten years. Then, at the age of sixteen, Laura fell in love with the cello and dropped her piano studies to pursue learning the cello. Laura studied with Ukrainian cellist Olena Kilchyk throughout high school at the Mount Royal Conservatory of Music in Calgary. Laura went on to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in music performance at the University of Alberta with Rafael Hoekman, the principal cellist of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. After receiving offers from music conservatories, including the Royal College of Music in London, Laura decided to pursue her Master’s in Performance at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Laura has participated in several orchestra and summer programs, including the Calgary Youth Orchestra, Edmonton Youth Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestral Institute, Orford Musique Academie, Domain Forget, Cincinnati Young Artists Program, Amici Strings Program, Calgary Stringfest, and the Tuckamore Music Festival.

Currently, Laura performs with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and is pursuing a Master’s in Music Performance and Pedagogy at the Memorial University of Newfoundland under the direction of Dr. Vernon Regehr.

Fun Facts About Laura

When did you join the NSO?

I joined the NSO in September of 2022.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My first teacher gave me a CD recording made by Shauna Rolston and the Calgary Philharmonic. On the CD was Rolston’s Elgar’s cello concerto which I listened to for hours on repeat, imagining myself sounding like that. My teacher let me keep the CD, and I still have it and listen to it, and I continue to find inspiration in it this present day.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony, “The Resurrection”. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a musical work as monumental as this masterpiece.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

I would love to work with Joe Hisaishi. My hope would be to create a cinematic movie soundtrack theme with solo cello presenting the melody!

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love to read, go on hikes, and trying out new cooking recipes! I used to do a lot of equestrian showjumping, but gave that up when I decided to pursue a career as a cellist.