Jaime Laredo


Born: June 7, 1941
Jaime Eduardo Laredo y Unzueta quickly became one of the world's most important violinists in the 1960s, known for his solo and chamber music performances and his organizational leadership. He has appeared with over a hundred orchestras in the Americas and Europe and has made dozens of recordings, winning several awards, including the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize, the Gramophone Award, and several nominations for the Grammy, which he won in 1991 for Best Chamber Music recording.

He began playing violin at the age of five. By seven, his talents were so evident that his family relocated to the United States to advance his musical training. At the age of eight, he gave his first full recital. His professional debut was with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Recalling other talented child violinists who had debuted in the same place, The San Francisco Examiner said, "In the 1920s it was Yehudi Menuhin, in the 1930s it was Isaac Stern; and last night it was Jaime Laredo." In San Francisco, he studied with Antonio de Grassi and Frank Houser. He went to Cleveland to study with Josef Gingold and attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where his teacher was Ivan Galamian.

In May 1959, he won the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition and debuted in October, 1960, at Carnegie Hall. During the first few years of his active international career as a soloist, the great conductor George Szell took time from his other activities to coach Laredo in repertoire.

In 1960, he married the Detroit-born pianist Ruth Meckler, who continued her career under the name Ruth Laredo after they divorced in 1974. He remarried, to cellist Sharon Robinson, and with pianist Joseph Kalichstein, they founded the Laredo-Robinson-Kalichstein Trio, becoming one of the world's leading chamber music ensembles. He and Robinson make their home in Vermont, where he has frequently participated in the Marlboro Festival.

Laredo founded, and is artistic director of, New York's Chamber Music at the 92nd Street Y series and is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, two of the most important performance series for chamber music in the U.S. Close friend and eminent violinist Alexander "Sascha" Schneider asked Laredo to carry on his pet project, the New York String Seminar and Orchestra, which attracts young string players from throughout the U.S. during the Christmas season. In addition, in 1994 he accepted the position of jury president of the Indianapolis International Violin Competition at the personal request of the competition's founder, Josef Gingold.

In the 1970s, Laredo also began a notable conducting career. He frequently conducts both the St. Paul and the Scottish Chamber Orchestras and in the 1999-2000 season became music advisor for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

His commissions for new works forward the repertoire of the L-R-K Trio and duos for him and his wife. Indiana-based composer David Ott composed Conversations, a duo work, as well as a Triple Concerto, which the Trio performed with the Indianapolis Symphony under Raymond Leppard. In addition, Ned Rorem composed a Double Concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra for him and Robinson, which was premiered in Saarbr├╝cken.

In addition to solo concerto performances, he has recorded other notable multi-soloist works such as Mozart's Sinfonia concertante and Concertone. Although he has appeared on major labels such as RCA and CBS/Sony, some of his most notable releases are on the American independent labels Dorian and Arabesque. For the former, he has released an acclaimed set of Schubert's complete violin and piano music with pianist Susan Brown and on Arabesque the Trio recorded the complete trios and sonatas of Dmitry Shostakovich and Maurice Ravel.