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Husband, father, performing and recording artist, arts leader


Laurence Kaptain is one of the few symphonic cimbalom artists living in the United States.

Most recently he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a series of concerts with the Baltimore Symphony and pop artist/composer Elvis Costello, Pittsburgh Symphony, and in collaboration with prominent Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. Kaptain has also collaborated with leading solo and chamber artists, including Gil Shaham, Monica Germino, Lucy Shelton, Christina Zavalloni, John Jorgonson, Gilles Apap, Robert McDuffie, and others. He is currently the Dean of the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia—situated near Washington, D.C.

He may be heard on the Teldec, London/Decca, Chandos, and Deutsche Grammophon, and has performed under James Levine, Pierre Boulez, the late Sir Georg Solti, Neeme Järvi, Hugh Wolff, David Zinman, Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, James Conlon, Alan Gilbert, Reinbert DeLeew, H. Robert Reynolds, Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur, Ivan Fisher, Adam Fisher, Edo de Waart, Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano, Osmo Vänskä, Hans Graf, Christoph von Dohnányi, Zuohuang Chen, Paul Gambill, and others.

Born to a father of Hungarian ancestry, Laurence Kaptain was exposed to the cimbalom at an early age by attending ethnic social functions in his hometown of Elgin, Illinois. He became a noted symphonic/concert percussionist, was awarded a grant to study cimbalom in Budapest, Hungary and has appeared with major North American symphonic ensembles for over 25 years. Kaptain was the first individual to receive the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion instruments from the University of Michigan.

Laurence Kaptain is Dean at Shenandoah ConservatoryJuly 2006 – Present.
As Dean, he shares responsibility with the faculty for realizing the strategic plan of the Conservatory. This includes delivering artistic and professional programs of high quality and supporting faculty members in their performing, research and teaching. The Dean is the public face of the Conservatory and, as such, makes frequent fundraising and public relations appearances.

 The Dean is a strong and decisive leader, aware of trends of potential significance to the arts in higher education, with a demonstrated interest in fund raising.

As Director of the Schwob School of Music at COlumbus State University in Georgia, he led development and funding initiatives that within one year have supported creation of two new tenure-track positions, enabled acquisition of a full-time concert manager and an advancement assistant/event planner, increased scholarships by over 25%, and driven student applications up by 20%. Administer donations and endowments of over $6 million. Cultivate collaborative relationships with Educational Director, General Manager, and Artistic Administrator of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and with music producers for Georgia Public Broadcasting; initiate and promote student connections with artists including Yoel Levi, Bobby McFerrin, and Benjamin Zander. Spearhead restructuring of promotion and tenure policies; raise and award funding for faculty travel to South America, Asia, Mexico, and Canada. Initiate comprehensive marketing program to attract quality students, prospect potential donors, and increase concert attendance.

Kaptain was Professor of Percusion at the University of Missouri-Kansas City,from 1991-2004, Assistant Provost 2000-2002 and Vice-Provost for Faculty Programs and Academic Quality, 2002-2003. He served as
Served as Acad. Aff. liaison with both univ. and comm. committees--Student Affairs, Registrar, Strat. Enroll. Management, NSSE, and Diversity in Action. Acquired and allocated grant monies, including administration of Lumina Grant from AAHE. Charged with performance of one of three top campus leadership roles in facilitation of initiatives and programs to support ongoing faculty development and create optimal conditions for student learning. Designed and implemented new faculty interactive orientation, initiated first campus Pro. Dev. sessions for department chairs, sponsored annual workshops (including three-year offering of “Transformation in Higher Ed.” workshop), and campus-wide promotion and tenure inform. sessions. Directed UMKC promotion and tenure process. Assessed and approved curriculum changes and additions.


fund raising, percussion instruments, leadership that enables others to reach their full potential, creating effective presentations, organizational communication, transformative practices in organizations, community partnerships, life-long learning, employing technology to improve learning and creativity, world music (most specifically latin america)