B. Ed. B. Music (Ottawa)
Laura Backstrom began her musical life as a pianist, switching over to cello in her teens. She studied cello at the University of Alberta with the renowned pedagogue Claude Kenneson, and participated in summer programs in Banff and Victoria. Upon graduation from the U of A with a Bachelor of Music, Laura was invited, with a full scholarship, to study with the Fine Arts Quartet at the University of Wisconsin. Her next few years were spent pursuing studies in Toronto with cellist Daniel Domb. While there, Laura completed two intensive training courses: the Orchestral Training Program, and the Musical Performance and Communication Program, both offered jointly by the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Laura’s next step was a move to Ottawa, where she married oboist Pierre Cayer and had a family. She enjoyed a rich musical life there, including a great deal of orchestral work, and many chamber music concerts, recordings, and broadcasts. Laura also managed to find time to teach a number of students, and began to contemplate broadening her career.
At the University of Ottawa, Laura completed a Bachelor of Education degree, Cum Laude. Laura and Pierre relocated to Victoria in 1997, and Laura immediately began teaching in school strings programs, in her home studio, and in 2000 joined the VCM faculty. She is remarkably successful working with adult learners as well as younger ones, and enjoys working with groups of all levels, from beginners to Collegium ensembles. In recent years Laura developed an interest in learners with special needs, and has completed post-secondary courses related to teaching children with exceptionalities. The musical performance project closest to Laura’s heart is Eine Kleine Summer Music (eksm.ca). Laura has been co-artistic director of this popular chamber music series since 1999.