Laura Garawski

Laura Garawski was born in Philadelphia and spent her childhood years there. She began studying piano at age 5. She was inspired by the reaction of her family when they all gathered around the piano to listen to her play “I am Mister Middle C.” She found that experience thrilling and grew to love the piano. Laura continued piano lessons at elementary school until 6th grade, after which she became a student at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, which later became known as the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts. 

Upon entering high school, Laura auditioned for the orchestra and began violin lessons at age 13, studying with a member of the Philadelphia orchestra. She progressed so well that she was appointed concertmaster in her senior year and decided that she wanted to study music. Laura went on to complete a degree in music education, majoring in piano and violin performance. After graduating, she taught classroom and instrumental music in the public schools in Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA. 

After 20 years of teaching, Laura decided to pursue a graduate degree in psychology and became a National Certified School Psychologist. She served in that role in public school districts in Newtown, PA, and Princeton, NJ. While in Pennsylvania, she remained active in music and played in several quartets and in symphony orchestra for 18 years. She retired about five years ago to move to Alexandria, VA, to be closer to her children. 

Laura has two sons and a daughter, and she encouraged all three of them to study music. Both sons play the clarinet, and her daughter plays the violin. However, they all chose different career paths. One son is an engineer and the other is an attorney. Her daughter is a medical doctor. But, to Laura’s delight, despite their divergent careers, they continue to love music, and they regularly attend performing arts concerts in the area and in New York City. 

Serendipitously, Laura’s introduction to the AMSF occurred at an area concert to which she had been invited by Carol Pew, who was performing at the Washington Conservatory. Coincidentally, two AMSF members were also performing at that concert. On their recommendation, both she and Carol joined the AMSF early last year. Although she is a relatively new member, Laura has been very active in the Duetto, Salon, Sonata, Cadenza, Intermezzo, and Prelude recitals, where she plays violin in ensembles or piano as an accompanist or soloist.

As is often the case, Laura’s musical journey was greatly influenced by two outstanding teachers. In high school she was taught violin by a gifted nun named Sister Helena, and at the Philadelphia Conservatory, she was taught piano by Joseph Arcaro. Both teachers nurtured and encouraged her love for music. Her favorite composers are Arcangelo Corelli (an Italian violinist), Johann Sebastian Bach from the Baroque period (1600–1750), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from the Classical period (1750–1820). Laura says that she “loves Baroque energies.” 

In addition to music, Laura’s hobbies include speaking French (she’s very involved in bilingual activities), reading biographies, writing short stories, and interacting with other people. She also enjoys encouraging other musicians. She says, “I would encourage young students to treasure their love for music and study an instrument, as it will accompany them in their life pursuits and equip them with a perspective that only music study and appreciation can provide.”