Research Areas: Historical Performance Practice
Lauded for her “unusually probing intellect” and “passionate drive to make music come to life in the here and now,” Laura Osterlund (B.Mus., McGill University, 2012) is an avid member of the movement to promote early music performance, pedagogy, research, and appreciation throughout North America. Her focus is on polyphonic music from the 12th-16th centuries–in particular, period composition and improvisational practices.
From 2013 to 2014, Laura worked as Assistant Program Manager and Recorder Specialist Teacher to Keiskamma Music Academy, a nonprofit youth development program in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. From 2011 to 2012 she worked as a research assistant for McGill University’s Distributed Digital Music Archives and Libraries Lab (DDMAL), helping to develop projects such as Optical Music Recognition for Plainchant (OMR) and Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis (SIMSSA). Laura taught summer courses on the theory, history, and performance of medieval and renaissance music at the Whitewater and Madison Early Music Festivals. Laura was also Director of the West Suburban Early Music Society for their spring 2016 season. From 2012 to 2013 Laura sang as a cantor and choral scholar for Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville, Illinois. In 2010 and 2011 she held solo vocalist positions at Trinity Memorial and St. Columba’s Anglican churches in Montreal. Laura maintained an early music concert series for inpatients at Montreal’s Villa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital at that time, and, as a special project, recorded renaissance solo repertoire for Ubisoft’s video game Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.
Based in Chicago, Laura is on the Youth Advisory Board for Early Music America and was a longstanding writer for the radio program Harmonia Early Music, the author of dozens of original scripts since 2011. She is a founding member of Chicago Recorder Quartet, Ensemble Musica Humana, and the now annual Pioneer Valley Early Music Day festival. Laura has enjoyed a varied performing career as a guest artist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Bach and Beethoven Ensemble, Music of the Baroque, VOX 3 Collective, Ensemble Scholastica, New Comma Baroque, The Marion Consort, Ensemble Musical Offering, Opera Theater of St. Louis in their 2014 production of Handel’s Riccardo Primo, and Cleveland Opera Theater in their 2016 production of Handel’s Serse.
In 2011, Laura was awarded Early Music America’s prestigious Barbara Thornton Memorial Award. Laura’s study of medieval repertoire with Sequentia during the 2008 Vancouver Early Music Festival proved a turning point in her career and a catalyst for the pursuit of her life’s passion.