The Altered Landscape Photo CollectionLaura strives to bring the symphony's musicians and community together around important historical and artistic events, organizing special projects that leverage art, ideas, and history to inspire orchestral music that speaks deeply and broadly to everyday life.

Laura is working on a multi-phase commission based on the Nevada Museum of Art's ALTERED LANDSCAPES photograph collection. News coming soon...


TRANSCEND: Celebrating The Transcontinental Railroad's 150th Anniversary 
with Composer Zhou Tian & The Reno Philharmonic

Laura Jackson and Composer Zhou TianTo mark the shared anniversaries of the Reno Philharmonic (50 years) and the Transcontinental Railroad (150 years), which created the city of Reno itself,  Laura and the orchestra commissioned Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian to compose TRANSCEND, a 21-minute, three-movement work for orchestra (see introductory video here).  The project and the season have been the subject of an NPR story and a documentary film created by KNPB that is now playing nationally. With leadership from Reno Phil President Tim Young and principal bassist and project director Scott Faulkner, the piece is being performed by twelve other orchestras across the railroad's path: the Utah, Omaha, Boise, Arapahoe, Evanston, Central Wisconsin, Idaho-State Civic, Cheyenne, and Sacramento symphonies, plus the student orchestras of Michigan State and Stanford University and the Chicago Youth Symphony. The collaboration also included local and national historical organizations, including the Nevada Historical Society and the National Railroad Hall of Fame

Play for a Day Pros and Amateurs performing side-by-side
Musicians of all ability levels joined Laura and the Reno Philharmonic in concert in January 2019. We will rehearsed and perform a concert at Reno's Pioneer Center, the Reno Philharmonic's home venue. Works performed in this special community side-by-side concert included music by Bizet, Grieg, Rossini, and Sousa (among others). Custom musical arrangements that integrated parts for performers of all skill levels were used. If you play and orchestral instrument and read music, we want you to be a part of this new program! (Details on the next Play for a Day events are coming soon...)

Tomorrow's Voices Today
Laura is constantly on the lookout for new musical voices that speak to me about our world and who will excite audiences. Recent personal commissions include two up-and-coming composers to create new works for orchestra. As always, Laura searches for partnerships with other ensembles to bring this music to audiences across the nation.

• Composer Carlos Simon orchestrated his symphonic band piece Amen! for the Reno Philharmonic. It premiered on January 12 & 13, 2019 as part of the Reno Philharmonic's Classix Three: Unexpected Evolution concert set. Additional performances were undertaken by the American Composers Orchestra in New York and the Sacramento Symphony.

• On the same January 2019 concert, Davidson Institute Fellow Ellis Hamilton, a jazz saxophonist and student at the Berklee College of Music, premiered a new orchestral arrangement of his jazz tune "Possibilities" for orchestra with the string trio Time for Three

Chesapeake: Summer of 1814
Reno Philharmonic Orchestra commission, premiered 2013

Celebration of the 200th anniversary of the writing of the United States national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner, with the Reno Philharmonic chorus. Premiered a year in advance of the anniversary, the Reno Philharmonic performed the work in September 14, 2014, two hundred years to the day after poet Francis Scott Key gave witness to the flag proudly waving above Baltimore's Fort McHenry after a 25-hour British attack. The work featured the Reno Philharmonic Chorus with visual design by artist Anne Patterson, casting the singers as members of the American and British forces. (Click here for more information.)

Home Means Nevada
Nevada state song by Bertha Raffetto (1932); arranged by David Bugli
Reno Philharmonic Commission for 150th anniversary of Nevada statehood
Click here for free scores; click here for audio recordings.
Instructions from composer David Bugli.
In collaboration with Carson City composer David Bugli, Laura and the Reno Philharmonic led a statewide effort to perform the Nevada state song—Home Means Nevada—by creating the first-ever orchestral arrangement and working with educators across the state on a collaborative live performance.

Sean Shepherd Commissions
by Composer Sean Shepherd
Reno Philharmonic Orchestra commissions

Laura beat the New York Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra, by being the first to commission Reno native Sean Shepherd to write two pieces for his home town orchestra—Silvery Rills and the tone poem Desert Garden. Sean grew up in Reno and played in both the Reno Philharmonic's youth orchestra program and later in the professional group. His compositions paid homage to his home and home state in two deeply personal and dramatic compositions. 
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Header Photo

Credit: Jeff Dow