Paul Laraia

Associate Professor of Viola
Affiliated Departments

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Paul Laraia​ joined the Conservatory in 2023 as an associate professor of viola. 

Acclaimed by The Strad for his "eloquent” and "vibrant" playing, Laraia is an active soloist, chamber musician, and new music proponent. In competition, he was awarded First Prize in the 13th Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, First Prize in the 14th National Sphinx Competition, and Gold Medal with High Distinction at the fifth Manhattan International Music Competition.  

As an internationally acclaimed soloist, Laraia has performed with major orchestras such as the Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Filharmonica de Bogotá, New Jersey Symphony, Nashville Symphony, New Haven Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has been a featured soloist at London's Wigmore Hall, the Shalin Liu Performance Center, the 40th International Viola Congress, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and in various venues in New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Since 2013, Laraia has been a member of the Grammy Award-winning Catalyst Quartet, which is currently in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for the 2022–2024 seasons and at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon. 

An avid new music proponent, Laraia has worked directly with many of the leading voices in composition such as Jessie Montgomery, David Ludwig Serkin, Gabriella Lena Frank, Richard Danielpour, Jimmy Lopez, and Todd Machover. He also maintains a close artistic partnership with Taiwanese composer Shiuan Chang, with whom he is crafting a new work as a requiem for peace in our troubled times. 

Laraia completed his studies at New England Conservatory under Kim Kashkashian and the Glenn Gould School in Toronto under Steven Dann. 

Professional Awards and Recognitions

  • First Prize Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition (2019)
  • First Prize Sphinx Competition (2011)
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Dreams and Daggers (2016)