Laura Smithburg Byrne received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with the renowned harpist Alice Chalifoux. She began her teaching career at CIM in the preparatory division while in graduate school and began teaching at the college level upon receiving her Master of Music degree. Mrs. Byrne has served as faculty harpist at Gustavus Adolphus College, the Baptist Seminary (Louisville Ky), and at the University of Louisville. Since moving to North Carolina, she has been teaching at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill since 2005.
Laura Byrne performs throughout the area as a soloist, in chamber music with her faculty colleagues, and as an orchestral harpist in professional orchestras throughout the area. Laura has performed for the Joffrey Ballet, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, the Louisville Orchestra, NC Symphony, NC Opera, NC Ballet, NC Theatre, Master Chorale and the Choral Society of Durham. She also freelances with touring groups and popular entertainers at DPAC and the Progress Energy Center with entertainers such as Johnny Mathis, Bernadette Peters, the Moody Blues and The Three Irish Tenors. Mrs. Byrne performs as Principal Harpist with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle and several other professional groups.
Mrs. Byrne has performed on numerous recordings including “Arts over Aids” by Aaron J. Kernis with members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, “The Stephen Foster Story” with the Louisville Orchestra, and for the Clarion award winning documentary by Libby Larsen “Leading from Bejing – Voices of Global Women”. Mrs. Byrne has performed on local and national television and has published articles in Harp Column Magazine.