Michigan Opera Theatre Assistant Concertmaster Laura Roelofs has been playing the violin for more than 50 years. As a professional musician, her first job was as a resident artist and instructor – in Venezuela. She worked with the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (now known as El Sistema), where she helped develop a student orchestra in Ciudad Bolivar.

“The founder’s passionate belief in musical training for all, regardless of income or social standing, has continued to resonate with my own idealism,” she said. “I am proud to have played even a miniscule part in its mission.”

Venezuela is only one of the many places Laura has lived. Though born in Philadelphia, her family moved around a lot while she was growing up, and she spent a lot of time living in Washington D.C. She’s been in Michigan playing with MOT since 2005, which she said has brought her many wonderful moments.

“My absolute favorite moment with MOT was the opportunity to perform an on-stage role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare,” she said. “It was a huge challenge to play while moving and interacting in character with a world-class countertenor, but it turned out to be an exhilarating experience.”

Laura holds master’s and doctorate degrees in music from Catholic University in Washington.

In addition to working in the MOT Orchestra, Laura is the Associate Professor of Violin and coordinator of the string performance area at Wayne State University. She is an avid gardener and loves animals, cooking, hikes and historical/genealogy research.