United States, New York City New York Viola
1st Prize winner of the 13th Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, 1st Prize winner of the 14th National Sphinx Competition, and Gold Medalist with High Distinction at the 5th Manhattan International Music Competition, violist Paul Laraia is enjoying the early stages of an international career as soloist and chamber musician. Acclaimed by the Strad for his "eloquent” and "vibrant" playing, Paul has been soloist with Orchestras such as the Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Filharmonica de Bogata, New Jersey Symphony, Nashville Symphony, New Haven Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has been featured recitalist at London's Wigmore Hall, the Shalin Lui Performance Center, and at the 40th International Viola Congress held at the Eastman School of Music.
As a principal member of the internationally acclaimed Sejong Soloists and as violist of the Grammy Award winning Catalyst Quartet, Paul has given hundreds of performances globally in venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, the Kennedy Center in DC, Detroit's historic Symphony Hall, Seoul Arts Center, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series. Additionally, he has been an invited artist at major festivals such as the Yellow Barn, Sarasota, Vail International, Festival Del Sole, incheon music hic et nunc!, Hong Kong Generation Next Arts, Macau International, Sitka, Banff, Rockport, Grand Canyon, and Cornell’s “Mayfest”, where he has performed with artists such as Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Anthony Mcgill, Yo-Yo Ma, Jorg Widmann, Vadim Repin, Edgar Meyer, Donald Weilerstein, Cho-lang Lin, Anthony Marwood, and Paul Huang.
Paul comes from a Philadelphian viola lineage, beginning studies with Brynina Socolofsky, and then continuing with Choon-jin Chang (Principal, Philadelphia Orchestra) and Che-hung Chen, through Temple University’s Center for Talented Youth and the Settlement Music School. In 2007, Paul entered the New England Conservatory of Music with full merit scholarship and began the most central stage of his training under Kim Kashkashian for 4 years, making musical friends and colleagues that continue to influence him to this day. Other major musical influences from his time at NEC include Dimitri Murath, Roger Tapping, Donald Weilerstein, Paul Katz, and after NEC, Steven Dann at the Glenn Gould School.
Paul believes that it is crucial to expose the highest level of classical music to all people, and actively engages in community performances, gives masterclasses, performs new music, and explores the boundaries of how classical music is traditionally presented. Paul has brought music to inner city schools, Native American Reservations, hospitals, nursing homes, and has presented concerts to areas and communities with limited access to live concert music. Paul believes that music’s power to heal and to connect people is a gift that everyone should have access to. Paul is also a recipient of the Sphinx Organization's 2019 MPower artist-grant for his innovative work in self produced/engineered recording projects.
Paul performs on a beautiful Hiroshi Iizuka viola in the ‘viola d’amore’ style, a Belgian bow by Pierre Guillaume awarded by the Bishops Strings shop in London, and is a proud supporter of Pirastro’s Eva Pirazzi Strings.
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