Laura Hamilton was Principal Associate Concertmaster for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where she led hundreds of performances over a tenure of 33 years. She was concertmaster for many of the MET's popular “Live in HD” videocasts, including Carmen, Parsifal, Turandot, Faust, Salome, and Madama Butterfly. Previously a member of the Chicago Symphony, she appeared with that orchestra as concerto soloist with Maestro Georg Solti. Her first orchestral position was with the New Jersey Symphony, where she was Principal Second Violinist for two years. Laura is currently Concertmaster for the conductorless chamber orchestra CityMusic Cleveland, as well as Artistic Director and Concertmaster for the summer festival Classical Tahoe in Incline Village, Nevada. As a chamber musician, she has performed with Berkshire Bach and other New England festivals including Marlboro, Manchester, and Bard; in summer festivals in Norway and Greece; and on the Met Chamber Ensemble series at Carnegie Hall. She appeared as guest concertmaster for the Seattle Symphony, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Welsh National Opera, and the Adelaide Symphony in Australia. In 2014, while on leave from the MET, Laura served for one season as concertmaster at the Sydney Opera House. A highlight of her Sydney experience was a gala concert with famed tenor Jonas Kaufmann; her rendition of Massenet's Meditation from Thais garnered rave reviews praising her “radiant,” “serenely beautiful interpretation.”
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Laura is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music, where she was the Nathan Milstein Scholarship recipient. She teaches studio violin, orchestral repertoire and chamber music at New York University. She has been a visiting instructor at New World Symphony, Manhattan School of Music (Orchestral Performance), and Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy. In 2021, she was a juror for the 14th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Making Competition in Poznan, Poland.
As Artistic Director of Classical Tahoe, Laura Hamilton curates the musical content of PBSReno's 6-part series "Classical Tahoe,” now in its third season. “Classical Tahoe” has been distributed nationally by American Public Television.
Laura and her husband, cellist Lanny Paykin, reside in New Jersey.