Laurie MacGregor has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, the musical theatre, and children’s chorus. Her musicals have been produced in theatres and schools across the country. Her concert music has been performed in the U.S. and abroad, and recorded on CDs and vinyl by the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Hampshire String Quartet, Odyssey Trio, and Baxter-Ghezzi Flute & Guitar Duo. Composition honors include a Norlin Foundation Fellowship, grants from the Alice M. Ditson Fund and Meet the Composer, and residencies at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. On behalf of TigerLion Arts, Laurie wrote and received grants from Target and the Minnesota State Arts Board to fund community outreach programs in Minneapolis schools. She has held composer residencies and taught music and theatre in elementary, middle, and high schools. Laurie’s music, composed in a variety of musical styles, is distinguished by lyrical melodies, syncopated rhythms, and sophisticated chord structures. A resident of Lyme, NH, she and her husband Kurt Feuer have two grown children.
Laurie spent her childhood in Wayzata, Minnesota and Washington, DC. The daughter of music lovers, she was exposed to all kinds of music, both live and recorded, and was as much influenced by George Kleinsinger’s Tubby the Tuba, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, and any Motown or Beatles tune as by Mozart and Beethoven, Louis Armstrong, and composers of musical theatre. Laurie attended Sarah Lawrence College, where she met and studied with her mentor, composer Meyer Kupferman. She also worked with composer Jon Appleton at Dartmouth College and received her Master’s Degree in Composition from Columbia University.
Laurie wrote chamber and orchestral music exclusively, including three compositions premiered at Carnegie Recital Hall, until she was commissioned to write a musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden with author Rosellen Brown for Andy’s Summer Playhouse, a New Hampshire children’s theatre. Energized by working in a theatre community and writing for children’s voices, she became a member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City.
She went on to compose another musical for Andy’s, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches
with lyrics by Maggie Bloomfield and book by Dan Hurlin.
Inspired by children and their unique energy, and by children’s literature in general, Laurie has also composed two song cycles adapted from popular books of poetry, Mary O’Neill’s Hailstones and Halibut Bones and Jack Prelutsky’s The Dragons Are Singing Tonight. Drawn to large-scale school productions because of their potential for collaboration and community building, Laurie wrote both adaptations for the entire student body of the school her children attended, as well as for professional jazz and classical musician friends. In each project, collaboration with the school’s teachers resulted in an integrated curriculum, culminating in the premiere performance with hundreds of student singers accompanied by a large ensemble of adult musicians.
The Hailstones and Dragons song cycles have been performed in numerous schools. They have also been transformed into theatrical productions, including a full-scale musical of The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, produced in 2012 by TigerLion Arts at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Laurie served as Executive Producer and Musical Director of this unique collaboration with the Minnesota Boychoir, Puppet Farm Arts, Circus Juventas, four actors, and twelve musicians. She was also Residency Designer and Coordinator of the community outreach program that was produced in conjunction with the musical and served over one thousand students.
Photos by Nancy Gibson, Sally Austin, Julie Steiner, and Martha MacMillan