At the age of 20, Laurence Kaptain was a section percussionist with the Colorado Philharmonic (now, National Repertory Orchestra) in 1973 and then returned at Principal Percussionist in 1974. He was alumni concerto marimba soloist in 1985.
As a percussionist and symphonic cimbalom artist, Laurence Kaptain appears regularly with major ensembles, award-winning composers and renowned performing artists, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony. His performances may also be heard on recordings with the Chicago Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony.
Kaptain has been interviewed and featured on programs such as NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and, most recently, a retrospective broadcast of historic recordings made by Georg Solti on the Chicago Symphony’s BP Network broadcasts. He has also performed with renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliot Carter, Gil Shaham, Suzanne Farrell, Kurt Masur, Elvis Costello, Henry Mancini, Donna McKechnie, Carol Channing and Robert Altman.
In his current position as dean of the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, Kaptain is an energetic, well-respected academic leader with an exemplary record of effectiveness directing internationally renowned higher education programs and performing arts units in the provision of superlative learning, creative and performance opportunities. He was previously Dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts at LSU and prior to that Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia. He received the first doctorate in percussion instruments at the University of Michigan, where he was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico and received the prestigious Rackham Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.