Pianist Laura Dahl is an active international performer and educator, appearing in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall and Stern Grove Festival, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University, the Carmel Bach Festival, and the Henley Festival in Great Britain. A specialist in collaborative performance and chamber music, Dahl is the founder and artistic director of the A. Jess Shenson Recital Series at Stanford University, as well as Music by the Mountain, a chamber music festival in Northern California. Dahl is a member of the music faculty at Stanford University, where she teaches collaborative and solo piano, chamber music, art song interpretation, and diction. She has also taught at the New National Theatre Young Artists Training Program in Tokyo, Japan.

Dahl’s education featured training on both coasts of the US and in Germany. She was the first musician to be named a German Chancellor’s Scholar of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She lived two years in Germany, studying under pianist Phillip Moll, baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and pianist and composer Aribert Reimann. Dahl holds degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Martin Katz, Eckart Sellheim, and Margo Garrett. A graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Dahl served as Assistant Conductor for Western Opera Theater and was Associate Director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus. She has been a coach at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan Opera Theater. She was an invited fellow at the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center for two years, in addition to studies at the Banff Academy of Singing (Canada) and the Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara). Dahl was born and raised in the western states of Colorado and Montana.

Academic Appointments

  • Senior Lecturer, Music

Administrative Appointments

  • Billie Bennett Achilles Director of Keyboard Programs, Department of Music, Stanford University (2020 - 2023)
  • Founder and Artistic Director, A. Jess Shenson Recital Series at Stanford University (2005 - Present)
  • Director, Collaborative Piano Program, Department of Music, Stanford University (1998 - Present)
  • Chair, Performance Committee, Department of Music, Stanford University (2019 - 2021)
  • Founder and Artistic Director, Music by the Mountain (2005 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • German Chancellor's Scholar, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1992-1994)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Founder, Artistic Director, Music by the Mountain (2005 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Master of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, Collaborative Piano (1991)
  • Bachelor of Music, University of Michigan School of Music, Piano (1989)


  • The Engineering of Opera, Bing Overseas Studies Program, Breyer Center for Overseas Studies in Florence (September 24, 2018 - December 14, 2018)

    Opera is at the very heart of the Italian cultural heritage, and Florence is arguably the birthplace of opera with productions dating back to 1598. This course explores the spectrum of disciplinary activities involved in producing, performing, and composing opera. Topics include acoustical engineering of great opera halls, the biomechanics of vocal sound production, the science of special effects, the design and construction of theatrical sets, as well as the structural underpinnings of operatic libretti and musical composition. We take full advantage of our time in Florence through live performances, guest lectures, and visits to various performance venues. The instructors (both performing musicians) will personally demonstrate acoustics and various musical forms (including arias and recitative) as part of the class.


    Florence, Italy

2023-24 Courses