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Laurie Kennedy, principal viola

Oct 24 2018

Laurie Kennedy has been principal violist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra since 1981. She was the featured soloist in Berlioz Harold in Italy  for the opening of the newly renovated Merrill Auditorium. Other solo appearances include William Schuman Concerto on Old English Rounds, Hindemith  Der Schwanendreher, Bloch Suite Hebraique  and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante  with violinist/conductor, Joseph Silverstein.

Well known as a chamber music artist throughout the Northeast, Laurie has performed every summer for over  forty years at the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival in Harrison, Maine. She became co-Music Director of this Festival in 1985, and served as Music Director from 2000 to 2015. She has been commended for“some of the most evocative programming on the Maine summer music scene” (Portland Press Herald 2011), and for hiring artists from around the country who play “with passion and precision” (PPH 2015) – “chamber music one would expect to hear at Lincoln Center” (PPH 2014). Laurie is also founder, co-director, and violist with Maine Mountain Chamber Music, which has presented a spring and fall series at the University of Maine at Farmington since 2002. She is highly regarded for designing and narrating the popular Music for Kids and Discovery programs at SLLMF, and for her devotion and enthusiasm in presenting classical music to school children throughout Maine.

At the age of 21, Laurie joined the viola section of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and later served as principal violist for the Vancouver Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic. A native of Massachusetts, she received her undergraduate degree from Smith College with Distinction, and her Master of Music as well as the coveted Performer  Certificate, from Indiana University School of Music. She has been a resident of Carthage, Maine since 1981. She is an avid gardener and enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, and traveling.

Where did you grow up? Amherst, Massachusetts

Where do you currently live? Carthage, Maine

What instrument do you play? Viola

Educational background: Master of Music and Performer’s Certificate, Indiana University School of Music
Smith College AB with Distinction

Personal Information (family, pets, kids, etc.): Two daughers, Katie and Julia

How did you get started in music? My mother was a professional violinist and teacher, and my siblings and I all started instrument lessons very early.

What non-PSO musical activities do you participate in? Music Director, violist: Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival, Harrison, Maine, a 5-week summer chamber music series.
Co-director, violist: Maine Mountain Chamber Music, a series at University of Maine, Farmington.
Choral Arts, Portland Ballet, Portland Chamber Music Festival, First Parish Church, chamber music festivals in US and abroad.

What is your favorite PSO memory to date? Bartok: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Also, when the camel first appeared on stage during Magic of Christmas.

Describe a typical day: No day is typical. Take a walk or ski, or work in the garden, practice, teach, go to rehearsals, answer emails, cook, do the dishes, take the compost out, fill the woodstove.

What is the question you’re asked most often when you tell people you play with the PSO? Do you get paid?

If you couldn’t be a musician, what would be your dream job? I never did anything else for money. I can’t imagine what I’d do.

Non-musical hobbies: Camping, hiking, skiing, yoga, gardening, traveling.

What is your favorite music? Bach, Mozart, Mahler, Bartok, Beethoven.

Do you teach? If so, how can people get in touch with you? Yes, (207) 562-8890 or lbkennedy47@gmail.com

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2425 chamber series

Announcing the all new Chamber Series

In honor of its 100th anniversary season, the Portland Symphony Orchestra steps beyond Merrill Auditorium and brings the music to you.

This all-new Chamber Music series celebrates the intimate and artistically vibrant nature of small musician led groups as they perform on stages throughout the state of Maine.


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Bring your class to a youth concert

Coming in 2025… The Portland Symphony Orchestra partners with Carnegie Hall to present Link Up: The Orchestra Sings! Link Up is a fully participatory, school-day concert program. Students will fill Merrill Auditorium to sing, play recorders, move, and listen along with the symphony from their seats. This program is designed for students in grades 3-5 but all are welcome and encouraged to participate!

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Ticket sales cover only a portion of what it takes to produce the PSO’s artistic and education programs. Your generous support is vital in helping us deliver music programs that serve children and adult listeners.


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Meet the PSO’s Music Director


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