Laura Kargul has been concertizing as a solo pianist since the age of thirteen, when she made her concerto debut with orchestra in Detroit. She first came to international attention in 1985 when her European debut in the Netherlands was hailed by the Rotterdams Nieuwsblad as “one of the most remarkable debut recitals recently given in our country”. The following year Ms. Kargul played at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and earned immediate recognition as a “world class pianist”: “This is playing that belongs on our great concert stages . . . . almost feverishly inspired, so controlled and so thrilling.” (Haagsche Courant, The Hague) Subsequent tours have included solo performances in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, and Switzerland, as well as in the West Indies. As a guest of numerous international music festivals, Ms. Kargul has appeared at the Schleswig-Holstein, Nordhessen, and Eisenacher Summer Music Festivals in Germany, the Evian Music Festival in France, the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy, the Lesvos Arts Festival in Greece, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and Music Mountain in Connecticut. She has recorded for radio in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Jamaica, as well as for PBS radio and national television in the United States. As a collaborative artist she has performed with groups such as the Lark Quartet, the Da Ponte String Quartet, and the Michigan Chamber Strings.
Although her repertoire spans from Scarlatti to Rochberg, Laura Kargul is especially known as a Liszt interpreter, and she is one of few pianists ever invited to give a full recital on Liszt's own Bechstein piano at the Liszthaus in Weimar, Germany. Her performances of Liszt consistently draw high praise: “Liszt wanted everything from the piano - wildness and fervor, exuberance and humility. Laura Kargul delivers all of it. She is completely absorbed by the music - elegantly floating through the most treacherous passages. It's like childsplay to her ...equipped with sparkling brilliance, clean double octaves, and perfectly executed leaps.” (Hessische Allgemeine, Kassel, Germany) At the same time, she is considered to be extremely versatile and critics find her playing of many other composers to be equally compelling: “How convincingly poetic, deeply lyrical and profound, will her playing of Schubert be judged.” (Wiesbadener Kurier, Wiesbaden, Germany). Another often mentioned attribute is her focused, understated virtuosity: “Unassuming, without exaggerated gestures, Laura Kargul enters the stage and astounds her audience. . . .with great wealth of expression . . . . visible and audible perfection in technique.” (Thüringische Landeszeitung, Eisenach, Germany)
Originally from Michigan, Ms. Kargul's early piano studies began at the age of six with Rebecca Frohman in Detroit. As a teenager she attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen, where she studied with Nelita True and won a full scholarship to the University of Michigan. Her principal teachers in piano were Leon Fleisher and Theodore Lettvin, and she also worked closely with former Tanglewood director of conducting Gustav Meier. Ms. Kargul holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Michigan and is now the Director of Keyboard Studies at the University of Southern Maine, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1989. Dedicated to teaching, she is also the founder and director of a summer camp for young pianists, the Southern Maine Piano Institute.