Gwen Laster

Gwen Laster

Gwen Laster is a Detroit violinist and awardee of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jubilation Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Arts Mid-Hudson, Lila Wallace, and Cognac Hennessey Jazz Search. Motor City's exciting urban and classical music culture influenced her improvising and composing. Her parents loved jazz, blues, soul, and classical music. She studied with inspiring music teachers in public school. After earning two music degrees from the University of Michigan, she relocated to New York, where she collaborated, performed, and recorded with Anthony Braxton, Nona Hendryx, Aretha Franklin, Wadada Leo Smith, William Parker, Danny Elfman, Sun Ra Arkestra, Tyler, the Creator, Gladys Knight, Emeline Michel, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, Alicia Keys, Rhianna, Shaggy, Andrew Baba Lamb, Natalie Cole, Solange, Mark Anthony, J Lo and Shakira at President Obama’s Inaugural Neighborhood Ball. She played local jazz clubs and subbed on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Carousel, Wicked, Porgy and Bess, and The King and I. Laster led ensembles, orchestrating and composing string arrangements. She founded Creative Strings Improvisers Orchestra (CSIO), a music education ensemble teaching young strings players improvisation, composition, and global ensemble music. CSIO facilitated workshops at El Sistema Ravinia, Harlem School of the Arts, St. Ann's School, Blue Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Wappingers Schools, Poughkeepsie Day School, Interlochen Summer Institute, Sphinx Performance and Preparatory Academy, Eastman School of Music, Center for Creative Education, Howland Cultural Center, Bard College as an adjunct Jazz Violin professor, and Beacon CSIO online classes.

Duration: 54 min

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