Hailed a ‘string sensation’ by BBC Music Magazine, British-French guitarist and composer Laura Snowden is acclaimed for her ‘poise and intensity’ (Guardian) and playing of ‘extraordinary depth’ (Strings, Classical Music Magazine).
Laura studied with Julian Bream, during which time she gave two concerts at Wigmore Hall featuring premieres of his recent commissions. This led to international recognition and festival debuts across Europe, China and the US, as well as concerto debuts with Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and Münchener Kammerorchester, and a recording of Lisa Streich’s guitar concerto Augenlider with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester.
As a composer, Laura’s music has been performed at Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall and Sadlers Wells, commissioned by the Park Lane Group, Birmingham Symphony Hall and International Guitar Foundation, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland and Hong Kong Radio 4.
Described by Classical Guitar Magazine as ‘linking guitar’s past, present and future’, Laura’s eclectic musical output has ranged from playing on Lorne Balfe's sountrack for Marvel film Black Widow to creating guitar arrangements for Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink; she has also given dozens of world premieres by composers including Julian Anderson, Errollyn Wallen and Olli Mustonen.
Laura has collaborated closely with her folk group Tir Eolas; after releasing their debut album Stories Sung Truths Told, the band toured numerous UK shows and festivals including Cambridge Folk Festival, Bestival, and Shakespeare’s Globe at the invitation of John Williams.
Laura’s international concert appearances have included the Guitar Foundation of America, New York Classical Guitar Society, Long Island Guitar Festival, Upstate New York Guitar Festival, Altamira Hong Kong International Guitar Symposium, Uppsala International Guitar Festival, the Volterra Project in Italy and the Guitar and Lute Festival in Sweden.
Alongside classes at various festivals and universities, she has given classes at the Royal College of Music, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Birmingham Conservatoire, Yale University, the Purcell School, Brussels Conservatoire, Arizona State University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mannes School of Music and Manhattan School of Music. She held the position of Assistant Guitar Teacher at the Yehudi Menuhin School between 2014 and 2020 and currently teaches at the Royal College of Music Junior Department.
Laura was born in York to a French mother and English father, and grew up in Cornwall, Devon and Sussex with Celtic folk music, played by her father on the Irish tenor banjo. Before starting the guitar, Laura liked to make up songs and record them on her tape player, and was inspired by the guitar playing of Ralph McTell to start lessons at her primary school.
At secondary school, her
teacher Ashley Hards gave her recordings of famous guitarists and his entire back catalogue of Classical Guitar Magazine. One day, Laura was leafing through the latest copy of Classical Guitar Magazine when she came across something remarkable: the renowned Yehudi Menuhin School was auditioning guitarists, following a donation from the Rolling Stones!
Thanks to the Rolling Stones, Laura was awarded a scholarship to study at the school at the age of 16, and fulfilled a lifelong ambition to attend boarding school. From here, she went on to study at the Royal College of Music, where she formed her folk ensemble Tir Eolas.