Press Releases

The National Philharmonic Announces New Concertmaster

July 15, 2020

Violinist, Laura Colgate, brings years of experience and a background in championing women composers

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Philharmonic is thrilled to announce the engagement of Laura Colgate as its new Concertmaster. Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “remarkably poised… sensitive and majestic,” Colgate currently serves as Concertmaster of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina and was formerly Concertmaster of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra in Texas as well. Colgate, who resides in Takoma Park, MD, had previously served as a substitute violinist with National Philharmonic since 2014.

Colgate comes to National Philharmonic having completed a doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Music where her thesis focused on women composers through history. Those studies led her to become a passionate champion for women in classical music and in March of 2018 she co-founded the Washington, D.C. based Boulanger Initiative, an advocacy organization for women composers. In addition, Colgate studied at the Conservatory in Luzern, Switzerland and in the Professional Quartet Training Program with the Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne, Germany. She also served as founder and First Violinist of the Excelsa Quartet, an all women group, while studying at the New England Conservatory.

“I am honored to be joining such a progressive and forward-thinking organization,” says Colgate. “The National Philharmonic has given me the opportunity to establish my own voice and vision and to help define and be a part of shaping the organization’s identity moving forward. For an orchestra to give that sort of freedom to a Concertmaster is really remarkable,” she continues.

“I am very impressed by Laura’s musicianship and leadership skills,” remarked National Philharmonic Music Director & Conductor Piotr Gajewski. “Laura quickly emerged from among several dozen candidates for the position, and her terrific performance at a concert last February sealed the deal. Her work in championing women composers is truly impressive as well, and I look forward to her advice and counsel with respect to expanding the National Philharmonic repertoire to include more works by women.”

Gajewski concludes: “Laura is a perfect fit as our new concertmaster and will help move the National Philharmonic forward, as we reimagine the role of a symphony orchestra and chorale in the context of our increasingly diverse community.”


The National Philharmonic serves the residents of the Washington, DC metro area. The primary goal of the organization is to provide audiences with high quality, professional performances at a convenient location and at affordable prices. The National Philharmonic also aims to appeal to the diverse cultural backgrounds of the community through its musical performances and educational programs. https://www.nationalphilharmonic.org/

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