Raised in the small, country music-obsessed town of Gore in the south of New Zealand, Laura Barton’s mother decided to rebel and become a violin teacher in order for Laura to learn. However, unable to escape her cultural heritage, Laura still had to compete in the Gold Guitars competition every year. From there, she escaped to the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, where she has recently completed a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours.
A passionate orchestral musician, Laura performed regularly with the majority of professional orchestras around New Zealand. Last year, she was delighted to lead both the NZSM Orchestra and the Wellington Youth Orchestra as their concertmaster, and this year she is the assistant concertmaster of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra. Laura is also a keen chamber musician and is involved with a number of ensembles, including being one half of the Duo VAARP, with harpist Michelle Velvin. Her other love is for the conductor’s baton, a skill she hopes she can continue to develop during her time at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).
Laura is an advocate for the performance of New Zealand compositions. She has collaborated with several award-winning young composers on both solo and orchestral projects, and also a commissioned chamber work for Duo VAARP. When not in the practice room, Laura enjoys exploring the contemporary jazz scene and expanding her sock collection. What drew her to ANAM this year was its incredible orchestral program and the opportunity to perform with such outstanding guest artists, as well as working among such dedicated peers.
Image by Pia Johnson