Laura has studied guitar since childhood. Born into a family of hard working musicians and artists, she was nurtured and surrounded by several genres and generations of music and the arts. Her earliest association with the instrument came as a result of her professional jazz musician father teaching her basic chords on her Grandpa’s old guitar, laying it flat across her lap as she was too small to hold it in the traditional upright position. From there she taught herself to read music, melded her style with classical technique and performed primarily as a singer/songwriter and street theatre musician.
Laura has studied under several notable teachers. In 1992 she met and performed for the internationally renowned Ricardo Iznaola in a classical guitar master class. She then began formal studies with him, and was accepted into the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver the following year. Laura spent the next three years pursuing a major in classical guitar performance. This education solidified and expanded her musical foundation, exposed her to a variety of performance and composition opportunities and made her a better overall musician as well as guitarist. She then began to play in various venues such as the Breckenridge Music Festival, the Denver Art Museum and Swallow Hill in Denver.
Laura’s passion is playing in mixed ensembles, arranging/composing pieces that utilize unusual instrumentation, and introducing others to the varied applications of classical guitar in music.
Laura’s recently released new CD, unexpected, contains original and solo works for both classical and 12-string acoustic guitar with a few duo pieces featuring her partner Thereza Zacek Stephan on violin and mandolin. Past projects include the selection, performance, and synchronization for the soundtrack in a marketing DVD, American Classic Barns: Showcase.
Along with regular performances, Laura has written several guitar related articles that have been published in The Mandolin Journal and the GFA Soundboard. She also maintains a busy teaching schedule.
The musical duo, Laura and Thereza, was created when the pair first met as performing members of the Denver Mandolin Orchestra in 2001. They each recognized in the other a high level of musicianship, commitment to the music, and depth of technical training. They soon began playing together as a duo with Laura Bruno Lilly on classical and 12-string guitars and Thereza Zacek Stephan on violin and mandolin.
Thereza began studies on the violin as a child prodigy and has accumulated a long and impressive resume throughout her life. She has performed with a host of celebrities including Harry Belafonte, Carol Channing and Ben Vereen and played in orchestras under many notable conductors including Stravinsky, Johannes and Slatkin. She is the consummate musician who freely shares her wealth of knowledge with others and has a passion to play the music for all who will hear it.