Gwen Laster. Violinist, Composer, Educator.
Bringing global Jazz through African rhythms, culture and Eastern philosophy.
Gwen’s Detroit upbringing in Urban and Classical music was inspired by her mother’s love for Blues, Jazz and the Motown sound.
After earning her BM and MM from the University of Michigan School of Music, Gwen relocated to New York City. She emerged herself in recording, touring,collaborating with other artists, playing Broadway shows, Jazz clubs, traditional and non traditional chamber ensembles and teaching Improvisation to String Players.
She has released two recordings “Sneak Preview”(EP) and “I Hear You Smiling” of original music. Her next recording “Gameboard” will be released in September 2012. These compositions are inspired by her love for Eastern Philosophy and uses strings, African rhythms and electronics.
Gwen’s collaborations with Popular, Global and Avant Garde recording artists give her an interesting and diverse set of skills and musical sense abilities. These artists include Alicia Keys; Rhianna; Beres Hammond, Saxophonist Joe Giardullo, Angie Stone, Shaggy, Aretha Franklin, Joss Stone, Haitian vocalist Emeline Michel,Anthony Braxton and Leroy Jenkins. Her chamber and orchestral work includes Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Harlem Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Sugar Hill Classical Band and The Braxton Opera “Shala”. She has toured Japan, Cuba, Haiti, Barbados,Anguilla, Jamiaca, Canada, the Dominican Republic and the U.S.
As an educator, Gwen is the founder and artistic director of the Creative Strings Summer Workshop. This workshop develops the trained string players’ improvisation and composition skills. Jazz and global music are used to express individuality of sound and to learn music theory and ear training. Creative Strings was the first non traditional workshop to be welcomed by the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Sphinx Preparatory Academy. It will run in 2012 for it’s third summer in Cold Spring, NY and the Hamptons. Gwen has also published a violin method book “Music for the Creative String Player” and string orchestral music for improvising players.