Laura Kaminsky, cited in The Washington Post as “one of the top 35 female composers in classical music,” frequently addresses critical social and political issues in her work, including sustainability, war, and human rights. Possessing “an ear for the new and interesting” (The New York Times), “her music is full of fire as well as ice, contrasting dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection. It is strong stuff.” (American Record Guide).
Her first opera, As One, (2014; co-librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed) is the most produced contemporary opera in North America, with close to 50 productions to date across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. “As One is a piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion, and the human desire for self-love and peace” (Opera News). The original cast recording on the BSS label was named one of the best new opera recordings of 2019 by Opera News. The As One team has since been commissioned twice—by Houston Grand Opera for Some Light Emerges (2017) and Opera Parallèle/American Opera Projects for Today It Rains (2019).
With Reed, she has created Hometown to the World (2021), inspired by the devastating Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in Postville, IA in 2008, commissioned by The Santa Fe Opera and Opera For All Voices as a co-commission with Hawaii Opera Theatre. Upcoming are Finding Wright (librettist Andrea Fellows Fineberg; Dayton Opera; 2022) and February (co-librettist with novelist Lisa Moore; Newfoundland’s Opera on the Avalon; 2023). A new work, Uncover, for Hub New Music premieres at the Morgan Library and Museum in 2022.
Recent recordings include Fantasy: Oppens Plays Kaminsky, "an exciting, compelling release" (International Piano) on Cedille Records, and Blythe Gaissert: Home (Bright Shiny Things BSTC-0137), #1 on the Billboard Classical Chart upon its release.
Kaminsky was awarded the 2016 Polish Gold Cross of Merit (Zloty Krzyż Zasługi RP) by the President of Poland for exemplary public service/humanitarian work. Other grants, awards and fellowships include those from the National Endowment for the Arts, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, Chamber Music America, BAM/Kennedy Center De Vos Institute, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Newburgh Institute for Art and Ideas, Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music, American Music Center, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, Likhachev-Russkiy Mir Foundation Cultural Fellowship, Kenan Institute for the Arts, Artist Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, Bronx Arts Council, Arts Westchester, North Carolina Arts Council, Seattle Arts Commission, and Meet the Composer. She has received six ASCAP-Chamber Music America Awards for Adventuresome Programming, a citation from the Office of the President of the Borough of Manhattan, and the Polish Ministry of Culture National Heritage 2010 Chopin Award. She has been a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum Foundation, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Camargo Foundation (France).
She is head of composition at the Conservatory of Music Purchase College/SUNY, serves on the boards of Opera America and the Hermitage Artist Retreat, and is director of the Advisory Council of The American Opera Project. Her scores are published by Bill Holab Music and her many recordings are found on the Affeto, Albany, Bridge, BSS, Cedille, CRI, Capstone, Mode, MSR and Navona labels. Kaminsky is a BMI composer.