A premiere talent of his generation, violist Paul Laraia has appeared in recent seasons as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He regularly performs solo recitals and chamber music throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
Born in Sewell New Jersey, Paul began viola with Brynina Socolofsky, the disciple of viola pedagogue Leonard Mogill. He continued his studies with Choon-jin Chang, and Che-hung Chen of the Philadelphia Orchestra under scholarship through Temple University’s Center for Talented Youth and the Settlement Music School in South Philadelphia. In 2007, he entered the New England Conservatory of Music under Kim Kashkashian with full scholarship and in 2008 he became the recipient of the Clara May Friedlaender Scholarship.
In 2010, Paul competed at the Sphinx Competition and received second prize for his performance of Bartok’s Viola Concerto with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall. In 2011, Paul returned to the Sphinx Competition and was unanimously awarded first prize. He performed the Walton Viola concerto to a captured audience at the finals concert where he formally accepted his award.
Since 2011, Mr. Laraia has been appearing as a member and principal of the highly acclaimed Sejong Soloists ensemble, based in New York city and Seoul, South Korea. With Sejong Paul has performed and recorded chamber music and String Orchestra masterpieces with some of today’s brightest emerging and established soloists such as Paul Huang, Stephan Milenkovich, Gil Shaham, Vadim Repin, and Cho-liang Lin.
In addition Paul has performed at the Sarasota Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Banff Center for Music, and Yellow Barn Festival. He has been awarded top chamber music prizes at the Fischoff Competition, the New England Conservatory Honors Ensemble Competition, and the Glenn Gould School Chamber Music Competition. He has been privileged to have collaborated with such artists as Donald Weilerstien, Daniel Phillips, William Vermeulen, Roger Tapping, Anthony Marwood, Michael Kannen, Maria Lambros, Natasha Brofsky, and Mark Hill.
Paul regularly performs with his two younger siblings Steven and Tiffany who also play viola. Steven is currently Principal violist of the Sarasota Orchestra and Tiffany studies at the New England Conservatory of Music.